Crossing thresholds and reaching milestones

On Monday, I reached a personal goal to run eight miles in one outing. For me it was a milestone.

After reaching 37 years old this month, staying in shape like an 18-year-old ain’t easy. Lemme tell you.

I’m no gym rat. And I’ve never been much of a weight lifter.

As I age, I find it’s incredibly important to do some of the things I never did (like lift weights) and keep up the things I’ve done off and on since high school, i.e. running and playing sports.

I think of it as an investment into my future.

I use an iPhone app called RunKeeper that is an amazing tool for tracking progress as well as encouraging me while running. As you run, a voice comes into my headphones updates me as to my speed, distance, and how big of a douche I am.

It’s incredibly satisfying. Especially when the voice says, “You’ve reached six miles of assholery. Great job.”

When that happens, I leap into the air, throwing my knee up and bringing down an elbow with clenched fist.


Running the lakefront is gratifying as it is inspiring. At one moment, an 4′ 11″ tall man will pass me running beside his bike. The next minute, a guy in a wheelchair will pass me pushing with his gloved hands. The next second, a women 30 lbs heavier than I am will scoot past.

The second I feel good about myself, some jackwagon will pass me and remind me how out of shape I am.

It’s also cool, because you can find a “rabbit” or pace setter who might run with you for a while. It’s usually a non-verbal agreement you have with some other runner to go the same pace until one of you bails.

Ahh, Chicago, don’t you love the diversity!

The verity of people exercising on the lakefront reminds me of the diversity in our neighborhoods.

One subject Tina and I talk about a lot is how we’re so grateful for the infrastructure in our city that we pay significantly higher taxes for that allow us to live so well with so many different kinds of people.

We’re reminded constantly that the people around us range from the super rich — driving Ferraris and Lamborghinis — to the super poor, sitting on their asses in front of store fronts begging for change.

The contrast that we see with our suburban friends and family — and I’m talking Chicago Suburbs, not just my NC friends and family in rural NC — is that we’re reminded constantly that the world is full of so many kinds of people.

And maybe our suburban friends see somebody begging at the on or off ramp at the highway, but they aren’t getting passed while running by a guy in a wheelchair.

They aren’t approached three times in a 5 minute walk to the store by homeless people asking for change. They aren’t admiring a Ferrari one second and covering their noses from the stink of a guy hunched over at the waist sleeping (passed-out) at a busstop.

I’m not saying we’re better than they are.

I’m saying we have more reasons — besides what Jesus taught — to contribute to a government infrastructure that supports those in need. We take pride in having higher taxes so that more people can find warm places to sleep at night after having a warm meal.

We think that’s why Chicago is Blue and the rest of this fucking state is bleeding red.

One of my problems is: I think people deserve a place to live with a safety net. I think they deserve a place where they can be fucked up drug addicts. Why? At one time, it was because I was a Christian and I believed that everyone should be saved.

But now, I believe it’s because everyone fucking deserves to be saved.

No matter what the station or place in life.

I’d rather live in a place like Chicago that has a glut of corruption while giving homeless people and drug addicts the possibility of redemption than living in a place where people hide behind their Christianity so they don’t have to help the needy, the poor, and the destitute.

Redundant? I know.

At least we’re corrupt while helping the needy.

Instead of just being corrupt.


Photographing while running

Yesterday, I went for a much-needed jog. When I’m busy, I get to exercise much less, and scheduling time to workout is a chore.

There are a few of you who I’ve convinced to use the Runkeeper app for the iPhone so we can share our experiences and, hopefully, encourage each other through a little healthy competition.

Regular reader Xina turned me on to the camera function in the app that allows you to shoot a photograph, and it GPS locates it to the place you were when you took it and adds it to your map at the end of the run.

While I was running, I decided to shoot without stopping as much as possible. The results were interesting, and better than I anticipated. I expected blurry shots. But the shutter was quick enough to capture the action without stopping. One of them was my Peeper Dee yesterday. Here are a couple more.

These underpants are making me awesome!

My running life has surged over the past few months. Tina and I run about 3 to 4 times a week. I went from about 3.5 miles per exercise day to about 4 to 6 miles.

My routine is running to the gym, working out (swimming or weights) then running home. Lately I take a longer route to and from.

You may not know this, but with more running, there’s a chance your butt is going to chaff like your thighs are sandpaper and your perineum is a sensitive nerve factory.

I grew up athletic. I played soccer and basketball in school. And, despite the warnings to wear scrotum hugging active wear, I have rarely succumbed to the advice.

In high school, if I wore tighty whiteys to work out, I would get a stomach ache that felt like I was kicked in the pants a hundred times over. I played soccer in boxers.

Lately, I haven’t had that problem. I will run in a bathing suit with underwear built in, and no pain issues. Since I swim, I would wear the shorts two or more times before washing (gross, huh?).

With more running comes more stinky, sweaty clothes. So Tina and I walked over to Target, and I bought a pair of Champion underwear like the ones above. I thought surely, these things aren’t going to work for me. I thought surely I’m going to hate them.

But you know what?

You can’t get my ass out of them. I want to wear them ALL THE TIME!!!

Seriously, they make my genitals feel warm and cozy.

I mean, I’m this close to taking Anthony Weiner style photos and sexting all of you!

When I run in them, there’s no chance of chaffing … none, nada, zilch.

Remember when you were little, and you got a new pair of shoes, and suddenly you thought you were faster and could run forever?

That’s what these underpants do for me.

When I pull them up, and head out the door, I’m faster.

I can run longer.

I am awesomer!

I put on Runkeeper, blast a little Metallica or Foo Fighters, and I’m zooming down the road. Hell, I even run to Mute Math. I hear they’re a Christian band … and yet I’ve not turned away from non-belief yet. How about that?

When I’m running in my new underpants, people may not know that I’m awesome, but that’s the look I try to have on my face.

“I am awesome in these underpants. Watch me run!”

From now on, these are my underpants of choice … and I recommend them to you and yours … so you can be awesome, too.