Category Archives: running

Easy Rider and adult diapers

In ran at Hilton Head this morning. And it was a fairly pleasant run. Humidity was only about 99 percent; temperature in the low 70s. At 6 a.m. that’s not bad. And yeah, I know. That’s mid morning. But when I’m on vacation I’ll generally sleep in  until 4:30 or so and try to hit the road around  5:30 or 6. No point being a slave to your regular routine.

We’ve been coming to Hilton Head for nearly a decade. Good for vacations but not so sure about living here — or a lot of other places in the South — full time. One problem: way too many old people. On the drive to Hilton Head you pass one of those Dell Webb Sun City resorts. That’s where they give you a golf cart and a package of adult diapers along with the house keys. And it’s one of those places where you’re not allowed to be on the property unless you’re over 55 or 60. Wonder if that is what Dylan Thomas had in mind when he wrote:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Also, I’m not sure I want to live in a part of the country where the only cultural advantage is right-turn-on-red. (Sorry, I shamelessly took that line from a Woody Allen movie. He was talking about California. We all have our quirks.)

But I do like the way they get right to the point in the South. Clear, honest, direct communication.

For instance, we took Snowbird Alley (I-95) from North Carolina to South Carolina. I stopped for gas in Santee and headed in to get a Diet Coke. A sign on the door said: “If your pants are hanging below your waist don’t even think about coming in.” Hmm. Thank God it didn’t say: “If your stomach is hanging over your belt, no Diet Coke for you.”

But back on the road again, as Willie Nelson might say, I was stuck in traffic. A moving van in the right lane. An old pickup truck blocking me in the left. Moment of truth. Could I pass the pickup truck on the right and squeeze by the moving van? I inch toward the pickup truck and notice a bumper sticker: “Gun control means using two hands.”

Whoa, big guy. Let’s ease up on the accelerator of that BMW. No point in inviting a reenactment of the final scene in Easy Rider.

Dennis Hopper after all is now pitching ads for some retirement service on TV. Hope it’s not for adult diapers.

Go figure.


On the road: Peachtree 10K

Well, gasoline is inching toward $4 a gallon for regular unleaded. And who says Bush’s adventure in Iraq isn’t showing results. Wonder if the petroleum industry needs an advertising campaign to make consumers feel better about all this?

Guess so. If fact, the American Petroleum Institute has started a “multiyear, multimedia, multimillion-dollar campaign, which includes advertising in the nation’s largest newspapers, news conferences in many state capitals and trips for bloggers out to drilling platforms at sea.” That according to an article in The Washington Post, “Oil Lobby Reaches Out to Citizens Peeved at the Pump.”

I’m all for advocacy communications. And certainly the American Petroleum Institute has the right to try to change public opinion on this — and good luck to them. It will need it as the price of gasoline keeps going up. And voters at some point put pressure on members of Congress to look at some alternatives beyond that idiotic proposed tax holiday.

And I guess that is the point of the industry advertising effort. Here’s from the article:

“The intended audience is elected officials and the public, with an emphasis on the latter. The industry is trying to convince voters — who, in turn, will make the case to their members of Congress — that rising energy prices are not the producers’ fault and that government efforts to punish the industry, especially with higher taxes, would only make pricing problems worse.”

I’d hate to be the douche bag responsible for the success of that campaign. Sorry, a little grumpy today. Had to run in a cold drizzle this morning.

And I don’t know if this is related at all, but I was actually thinking about the Peachtree Road Race 10K, held every year in Atlanta on July 4. I can’t go this year, but I’ve already committed to going in 2009 to run with my friends Walter and Jerry and some 55,000 others. If gasoline prices keep increasing, by that point the only ones on the roads will be runners.

And Walter and Jerry — I want you to know that I started my training last night. I’ve switched for the summer from scotch to gin. I’ll be ready July 4, 2009.

By the time we get together in Atlanta a double gin and tonic will cost far less than a gallon of gasoline. Trust me. But at least we can talk about the price of gas — and the industry’s advertising campaign — during the run. Nah. Probably not.

The women’s marathon — on to Beijing

I ran in a drizzle this morning going five miles in about 45 minutes. A few hours later Joan Benoit Samuelson finished the women’s United States Olympic marathon trials in Boston in 2:49:08. See. I told you Friday she would break 2:50. Oh by the way. That’s a record for any American woman age 50.

Good for her. And great for the top three finishers: Deena Kastor, Magdalena Lewy Boulet and Blake Russell.

Here’s a video. It’s not the greatest. But I guess it’s hard for the photographer to follow the runners for the entire 26 miles.

So now it’s on to Beijing. Gas masks anyone?

And this is great. I posted this ahead of the evening news. No wonder Katie Couric wants to go do something else.

The maration trials and personal success

I had one of those perfect runs this morning. Temperature in the middle 40s, no wind and no cars. At 5 a.m. it doesn’t get much better than that.

As I was running I thought about how much I would like to run one more marathon. That ain’t likely to happen — but it’s a nice thought. And it’s particularly appealing with the women’s United States Olympic marathon trials taking place in Boston Sunday — followed by the Boston Marathon Monday.

And then there is Joan Benoit Samuelson. I wrote about her a few months ago, and if you are looking for a positive contrast to all the negative news recently about sports figures and the Olympic Games it’s her.

Joan Benoit Samuelson, now 50 years old, is going to run in the marathon trials. Her goal is to finish in two hours and 50 minutes. My guess is that she will do it.

But it doesn’t really matter. Joan Benoit Samuelson will always be the standard for honesty and integrity in these kind of competitions — and maybe she does spotlight something important about the Olympic Games, the current debacle with China not withstanding. She could have used her celebrity status following her Olympic marathon win to cash in — but she didn’t. She “retired” to her home in Maine, raised a family, became active in various charities and public causes and became an inspiration for the next generation of American women athletes.

I’ve enjoyed running for the past 25 years or so because of the friendships I made — and because I believe exercise is beneficial in general. Running has also provided me with a tremendous sense of personal accomplishment, confidence and self-discipline.

But Joan Benoit Samuelson says it a lot better than I ever could — saying in a New York Times article that marathoning is a metaphor for life.

“Marathoning is a metaphor for life,” she said, “so there are a lot of parallels you can draw. I tell people to follow your dream, follow your heart, follow your passion, run your own race and believe in yourself. I think anybody who wants to succeed has to have passion. My love for this sport, you can’t instill it in someone else.”

Runner’s World lists Deena Kastor, Kate O’Neill and Elva Dryer as the favorites to win spots on the marathon team.

But if Samuelson can finish the marathon in 2:50 — well, maybe there is hope for the rest of us.

Running and my top 10

Well, looks like it may finally be spring here in Northeast Ohio. And I had two great runs outside over the weekend: temperatures in the low 30s and the sun just starting to rise as I finished my five miles both days. Doesn’t get much better than that.

As I was running I thought about my most memorable runs. I’ve been doing this now for more than 25 years, and I’ve had so many great runs – by myself and with friends – that it’s hard to pick a top 10. But if Letterman can do it, I’ll give it a try. Here goes.

  • Pittsburgh Marathon – 1988. At mile 25, we turned onto Forbes Avenue and there was the skyline of the Steel City straight ahead – and slightly downhill. Dorothy couldn’t have been happier when she made it to the Emerald City to see the Wizard. The women’s Olympic marathon trials were held at the same time – and I had just turned 40 the previous November.
  • Hyde Park – London – 2004. A perfect early Saturday morning. Started at one end of the park – near Kensington Gardens — and made my way to Speakers’ Corner and back.
  • Columbus Marathon – 1985. My first marathon – and it wasn’t pretty. At that time the race was held in October and it was extremely hot and humid. There is a saying that there are two parts to a marathon: the first 20 miles and the last 6.2. I was dehydrated and struggling toward the end – but I made it. Mary opined that I should probably put to rest any dreams of Olympic glory at this distance (or any other).
  • Buckeye Half-Marathon – 1987. This was just a great run on a perfect autumn day. We started at the Richfield Coliseum (not defunct) and worked our way – mostly downhill – to Weathervane Lane in Akron. Ran with Walter, Gerry and Lydia, and we talked and laughed so much that it was disappointing to see the finish line.
  • South Beach, Florida – Easter Sunday – 1992 – I usually don’t like running on the sand. But when in South Beach, well — do as the natives do. Then – and maybe still – it was OK for both men and women to be topless. So about a mile or two into the run, two young women approached from the opposite direction. And they had freed the twins. Hallelujah.
  • Manchester Field – April 1982. My son, Brian, was born earlier that morning. And after I left the hospital I went to the track where we used to live. And I ran five miles with the high school track team. Yeah. Mary said it was OK.
  • Marine Corps Marathon – November 1986. Just a great way to see the city – touring all the monuments and other venues on foot. Almost finished under four hours – but not quite. And let’s face it folks. The Marines know how to organize things.
  • Boston – April 1993. Went to Boston with associates from Wyse Advertising to conduct focus groups for a Goodrich advertising campaign. We ran for about two hours through the city and along the Charles River on what was just an absolutely perfect afternoon. And from what I can tell we went a similar route to what the women will run later this month during the Olympic marathon trials. Terrific run. Terrible ad campaign.
  • Main Street 10 – I’ve mentioned this is a previous post. My friend Walter and I were training for a marathon, and we would run a few mornings a week 10 miles on Main Street in Akron, starting at around 4 a.m. One day it was raining and a truck turned directly into us. And just missed. I’m sure the nightmares will end soon; it’s been 20 or more years.
  • And finally – my run this morning around my neighborhood. Totally quiet – clear sky – no cars. And the best thing about it – I’m still out there almost every morning.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll get back to thinking about public relations and other equally important stuff.

Heading for a super weekend

Well, I’ll admit it. I wasn’t thinking much about public relations during my run this morning. Mostly, I was thinking about my running friends – and my daughter – who now live in Georgia and Florida. I’m sure they were looking at the national weather reports this morning and smiling. Here I am in Northeast Ohio running on a treadmill during an ice storm. Ugh.

But it does give me a chance to watch early morning television news shows. And that almost always leads to some random thoughts. So here goes.

ca55396c-b277-11dc-a41a-02bf453b928c_w100.jpgI guess based on the sports reports that this is the weekend for the Super Bowl. But c’mon. Without the Steelers playing does anyone really care?

Then it must be time for stations to try to boost their audiences to gain more advertising dollars in the months ahead. Cleveland’s 19 Action News is promoting a really interesting story for one of its 11 p.m. newscasts. It has something to do with a “mystery man next door.” Or something like that. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a notepad or pen with me while on the treadmill.

So when I was finished running I went to the station’s Web site to try to find more information about the story. But no luck. And I guess it really doesn’t matter. I’m never awake for the 11 o’clock news. If anyone happens to see the story, let me know.

And I’ll admit that while searching the Channel 19 Web site I got sidetracked by the 19 Action News Poll. Here it is.

Do you think Britney will finally get the help she so desperately needs to turn her life around?

Yes, She’s Accepted She Needs Professional Help

No, She’s Too Far Gone

Too bad Wolf Blitzer didn’t ask Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that question last night during the debate in California. Then we could have moved on to other pressing matters.

And then I found out from The Huffington Post that Ann Coulter was on the Hannity & Colmes show last night. I didn’t see it. I was sleeping through Lost. But Ann said she’ll campaign for Hillary Clinton if John McCain is the Republican candidate.

I guess there is hope for John McCain after all.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to run outside. That will be super.

Public relations, the Browns and Charlie Wilson

Well, I’ll admit the headline is a little random. But I had mostly random thoughts during my five-five run this morning. So here goes.

  • I managed to run 1,081 miles this year. That was even more important to me this year than usual. Maybe because I turned 60 in November. Anyway, I’ve run at least 1,000 miles each year since the early 1980s – with the exception of 2002. That year I tore my calf muscle on Oct. 14 playing men’s seniors doubles tennis and finished with 940 miles. So long tennis. Men’s doubles tennis isn’t much exercise anyway. About all you do is stand on the court and occasionally walk to the fence, bend over and pick up the ball. I’ve kept a running log every day since 1982. Walter, if you’re reading this, we ran 10 miles in the rain at 5 a.m. on Monday, April 18, 1985. That’s the day the truck turned and missed us by a fraction of an inch. I didn’t drink single malt whisky until after that. Remember? Gee, I wonder if writing this blog will spark as many nightmares as that run did?
  • I came home from running this morning, and I could see the front page headline in The Plain Dealer even in the dark: Browns Are Out. Ouch. That hurts – even though I’m a life-long fan of the Steelers. Let’s see. What’s after “one for the thumb”? Still, I really do enjoy living in Northeast Ohio, and having the Browns in the playoffs would be good for the region. It certainly was a fun fall with the Indians. I don’t watch professional sports much these days on television or in person. I’ve come to believe that rooting for a professional sports team is equivalent to having an emotional stake in whether General Motors does better than Ford. But I’ll watch the Steelers in the playoffs. Even a curmudgeon has to spend some quality couch time when the weather turns bad.
  • Tonight, being New Year’s Eve, I’m going to see Charlie Wilson’s War with my wife, Mary, and daughter, Jessica. Then we’ll go to dinner – but I should be home in time to get an hour or so of quality nap time in before the ball starts to drop in Time’s Square. Even if invited, I never go to parties on New Year’s Eve. Some of them have a tendency to drag on way past 10 p.m. Good grief.

So we’re off to the early showing of Charlie Wilson’s War. I’m sure it will be full of yucks, since it stars Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts and it is aiming for a mass audience. Here’s the preview.

Unfortunately, the book by George Crile, Charlie Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History, wasn’t quite as funny. Crile, a producer with CBS’s “60 Minutes” who died in 2006, provides an interesting glimpse at our government and CIA in action (inaction?). Even if you see the movie read the book. It will give you some perspective on why we are in the mess we are currently facing in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I could name other countries, of course, but time is short if I’m going to make the early show.

Happy new year. I’ll be on the road – or the treadmill – tomorrow morning, thinking about public relations and other important matters.