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Where I check in with some random

by John on December 1st, 2015
The Family with Santa
  • I ran the Harrisburg Marathon
    • I fared a good bit better than I did during my last marathon. I came in nowhere close to the 4 hours in which I was hoping to finish, but I felt good about my effort. Basically, I started out really strong, and was feeling great. I don’t know if it was the rapidly increasing temperatures (it never got “hot” or, really, even “warm,” but the race started really, really cold and it was quite pleasant by the time I finished) or the fact that I wasn’t really training to run 26.2 miles, but the wheels started to fall of, for me, right around mile 18, where a cramp started to form in the back of my right hamstring. I tried to ignore it, until about mile 20, when I stopped to actually stretch it. But when I stopped? Cramps formed in my lower back, shin, and foot. So I started to walk . . . and that worked. For about a 5k (miles 20-23) I walked while trying to ease through these annoying cramps. Around mile marker 23, some people I was chatting with at the very start of the race started running past me, the cramp in my hamstring started to abate, and I ran with them to the finish.
    • 2015 Harrisburg Marathon Finish

    • During the Garden Spot Village Marathon, I was angry with myself & the world. This time? I wasn’t super happy with my time (4:17), but I didn’t feel angry. I’m very glad to have replaced the last marathon memory with this one.
    • The course this year was different, and the ending in “Downtown Harrisburg” was really nice — but having to walk about a half-a-mile back to my car afterwards was not a fun walk. Heck, my sister was enjoying a beer with some friends at the finish and invited me to share a brew with her. Only that would have meant: walking back to my car for my wallet/id, walking back downtown. Um, yeah, I didn’t make it.
    • I’ve often told myself that I’m “retiring the distance,” but despite walking a good bit, I feel MUCH better about my performance here. I may try “pulling another marathon out of my ass” some time.
  • It’s so rare for Leila to be able to laud something physical over CJ – but the fact that he’s a boy’s boy1 is difficult to ignore. The other week, we were visiting my brother-in-law in New York City. Strangely enough, a five year old & a six year old wake up before a 28 year old musician living in the city. To kill some time, we took the kids to a park in Brooklyn. There was a climbing wall at the park. Leila? No problems climbing up & over the wall. CJ? Well, the kid propel himself on monkey bars like nobody else, so I don’t think it’s a lack of upper body strength for him. But, perhaps it’s a lack of coordination or (more likely) confidence, but he just couldn’t manage his sister’s feat. So The La, well, she’ll randomly go up to passers-by and inform them that she’s “more better at climbing rock climbing than her brother.”
  • We have entered “The Elf on the Shelf” area of the year — Bo2. I’m happy to announce that I have not yet failed in moving him (I’ve actually placed a reminder on my phone, every morning, set to go off just as I return from walking the dog), but I’m concerned about repeating places and/or dealing with the kids waking before 5:30am.
  • Last Sunday was a strange Sunday, in that most regular members of the church choir had announced that they wouldn’t be in church. So, the choir director called off the choir. And, if there is no choir, there is no organ. As I am the organist, I did not need to be at church. We had tickets to “Marvel Universe Live” (a stage show with superheroes & explosions) in the afternoon, at Hershey Park. But, after breakfast (which only partially got rid of my morning crankiness) & some holiday shopping, we decided to take advantage of our season passes at Hershey Park & visit the park. And wouldn’t you know that Santa was there. And, sometimes, at the spur of the moment, you end up with a fun family pic 🙂
  • Every now & then, I feel bad for Luna, the new kitten, when Benji just picks her up by a limb or her head. But, as soon as I start to feel bad for her, I hear a puppy yelp and see that she has firmly affixed herself, via claws & teeth, to his face. If he tries to ignore her, she will try to tackle him, despite the fact that he’s about ten times her size. So, I guess she kind of likes being carried around.
  • Cuddling Pets

  • When they’re not actively wrasslin’, the pets are actually the best of friends. And I’m left wondering just what goes through their minds – are they aware that they’re difference species?
  • While I remain “on target” with my diet & exercise plan (every weekend, I plan out & prepare my lunches for the week; every morning, I pack lunches for myself, my wife, and my son; every morning, I walk Benji and do something within the realm of strength training — based on the day, how I’m feeling, and what’s planned for the day that something might vary in intensity, but there is something every day), I am truly concerned about my desire to drink a shitton (1.337 shittonnes) of wine or tackle all-you-can-eat-buffet when either opportunity presents itself.
  • The symphony with which I’ve been playing just played our Masterworks concert – Mahler’s First. We really performed well. The rehearsal following the concert, though? Well, sight-reading music is always hairy . . . but it was downright painful.
  • I need to find more time for audiobooks — the list of stuff that I want to listen through is growing far faster than the list of items to which I’m actually listening (at present, the Millenium Trilogy before tackling The Girl in the Spider Web while I’m alone, and The Autobiography of Santa Claus when I’m with the kids.

1 We all know that the fact that “he’s a boy” really doesn’t amount to much, and makes no difference to me. But the truth of the matter is that CJ is a very stereotypical boy, and Leila is a very stereotypical girl. When playing in a group, CJ is likely to want to pick up swords & mock sword-fight and/or just run around and create a ruckus. Leila is quite likely to recommend that everyone “play tea party.” Because of this, CJ tends to best his sister in any physical contest.
2 When we first pulled out the Elf on the Shelf, the only word/sound/saying that The La would make was “Bo.” When we showed her the doll, she pointed, excitedly, and said “Bo!” So, Bo is his name.
  1. Hey, random. 🙂

  2. In January I plan to run every day (at least one mile, nothing big, just a goal to fit running into my schedule again) and to write every day (at least ten minutes, nothing big, just a goal to fit writing into my schedule again).

    It’s amazing how quickly I can get OUT of the habit of doing things I love.

    Congratulations on the 4:17.
    That was my time for the Napa Valley Marathon in 2009.
    (Not a bad place to finish a race, I tell you. Wine country. Yes.)

  3. You: “Yeah, I went and ran a marathon. NBD.” (Congrats!)

    I have never wanted to do Elf on the Shelf, but as my girls near the possible end of their Santa days (I can tell one of the 7yos is skeptical, but so far I’ve been able to come up with passable answers to her questions without outright lying), I’m afraid I’ll be sad I never did it.

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