Penelope and the 3 P”s….

I’ve learned over the years that the 3 P’s are essential when dealing with downtime;PPP


  • Persistence -to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, remonstrance, etc. (from persist)
  • Perseverance -steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
  • Patience -the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.

Although the 1st two are much more ingrained in one’s (a runner’s) Psych, Patience is a “Bear”

penelope patience

Penelope is the goddess of Patience – in her case, patience came in the form of fighting off suitors while Odysseus was doing his thing….




My 2 year old granddaughter’s name is Penelope.  Pi for short..  Indivisible she is.. P and Gran(interestingly, her mother was born 3/14 – PiDay)

For now, with Penelope’s help, I will be Persistent while I Persevere thru this downtime trying to maintain the Patience I require in order to keep my sanity..


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The “Open”

1860. The Very First Open.

On 17 October 1860, eight professionals assembled at Prestwick for a tournament to determine who would be the Champion golfer.

The winner was to receive the Challenge Belt, a prize crafted from red Moroccan leather and worth £25. The competitors played three rounds on the then 12-hole links, with Willie Park Sr beating Old Tom Morris by two shots. A year later, Prestwick announced that the tournament “shall be open to all the world.”

St andrews -claret jug

The Claret Jug ten years later

The “Open” will be played this year on the Old Course @ St Andrews – It the 29th time since its inception that the tournament will be hosted there.

According to Wikipedia, The Old Course is considered by many to be the birth place of golf back in the 1400s.  Interesting that the game became so popular that in 1457 James II of Scotland banned golf because he felt that young men were playing too much golf instead of practicing their archery.  The ban was upheld until 1502, when King James IV became a golfer himself and removed the ban.

st andrews

14 Rounds complete in 7 days – all walked!


My experience with St Andrews took place in the early 90’s.  My Brother Phil had decided to retire after an extraordinary career in telecommunications.  (He was at the epicenter of the AT&T breakup back in the early 80s) . As a retirement celebration, he treated myself and his two sons to a golf trip in Scotland.  The fun began in the planning.  We literally mapped out our plan for a 7 day trip starting on the west coast and ending up on the east coast of Scotland at St Andrews.  A few of the courses required advance introductory letters (Royal Troon).  We played twice each day, walking each round.  We’d finish each day packing ourselves into a Volvo station wagon with all our gear and clubs – 4 sets of golf clubs, 4 large duffle bags and 4 grown men – it was always a puzzle in how to fit everything in properly.  Then the “left-side” driving had to be mastered with the same concentration given to a 4 ft putt.  The 1st attempt had my brother at the wheel leaving Turnberry – “Are you OK with driving Phil?“Sure no problems..”  50 yards later the side mirror went missing…

st andrews -3

Oyster, Mussel and Onion Stew! And the BLACK. It made for interesting digestive adventures….

The days ended with lots of Guinness, single malts, full bellies (I lost ten pounds in spite of all the good food) and of course, wonderful companionship.

st andrews-2

My brother passed away a few years ago.  He was such a presence in my life.  I am thankful for the time we spent together –a lot of golf… He taught me how to be a gentleman.

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“One equal temper of heroic hearts..”

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

– The last lines from ‘Ulysses’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

I followed a number of runners from my running club running Boston this year.  It is such a spirited event – made more so by the events of 2013. had an app for my desktop that allowed me to monitor each one’s progress.  Little “stick” icons representing each runner and their progress along the course.  Some of the local runners chronicled their training up thru the race via blogs and Facebook.  Each with a wonderful sense of anticipation allowing me a peek into the “mental”, as well as the physical side of their quest.  Each one inspirational.

There are SO many “people” stories that surface from Boston (Marathoning and Running in general).  I think it was Joan Benoit Samuelson who may have said that “…“For me, the most inspiring stories come at the back of the pack…….”  and Bill Rodgers , while resting against a tree after a sub 2:15 asked the runner who sat down next to him, “How did you do”? – “Fine, finished in 4:30…”  To which Bill Rodgers replied, “Gee I don’t think I could run that long…” (I hope I did not embellish these quotes too much, but the message they send has stayed with me for years.)  These back of the pack, mid-pack personal journeys culminate on race day, but are cultivated and nurtured by each individual’s spirit far in advance of crossing the finish line.

I love this quoted section (above) from the last lines from ‘Ulysses’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.  Part of it may be engraved on the Boston Marathon Memorial in Copley Square.  It was posted on the Boston Marathon Facebook page.  I have since committed it to memory….

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Running and being a gentleman…

The female form is beautiful – it’s even more beautiful when in motion.  I don’t think this is sexist – I think it’s the truth.

But I cringe at the notion of a female runner having to “endure” the cowardly actions/catcalls of a few not-so-gentlemanly males.  I can only imagine while running alone and being subjected to this behavior must be like. …. Dollars to donuts the perpetrators have never laced up running shoes for anything other than to get from their car to the bar and back…The catcalls can’t come from runners … they know and share the admiration one runner has for the other regardless of gender.  If there are calls they come in the form of encouragement.  Am saddened by this…but also angry… cowards….

It is different for males it seems.. Full disclosure… I’ve been spit on and the recipient of the proverbial snot-rocket (both unintentional – I hope anyway).   I’ve had soda/beer cans thrown at me (Mostly back in the 70’s), run off the road by drivers who, I can only guess, were trying to reclaim the road as their own.  Told to get a job…Chased AND bitten by dogs.  And propositioned by both genders –

Whenever my son and I are together, we always part with the phrase “Be a Gentleman”.  Not sure how this started, but it has lasted a long time.  I guess it was my subliminal effort to implant a respect for his female counter parts.  He’s 35 now and soon to be a father himself.  Raising children in a tough time.  Each generation has their own moral evolutions. He is a gentleman…not a runner, but certainly a gentleman.

I think if these cowards, the ones leaning out of their cars excreting catcalls, would lace up a pair of running shoes and head out for a 3, 5, 10 mile run… afterwards, when they see that lone female runner running in the park, they may have an altogether different reaction…

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Starting over…on occasion the EEOR comes out in me.

I’ve been here before. Starting over. This time it was bronchitis and a chronic right calf pull that I aggravated by running when I should not have. It’s been 5 days since I’ve run. Feels like an eternity.  2014 has been interesting to say the least.  A series of “Did Not Starts” for a variety of reasons – all legitimate but some preventable.  My current disappointment is the Philly Marathon.  I had signed up for it when registration opened.  My Fall Marathon – Things were going well, I was feeling good – long runs from 10 to 15 miles each weekend with an occasional 10+ during the week.  Felt that my endurance level was improving even through my pace is getting slower.



I have been walking around Cooper River the last two days (3.62 Miles) – I can do it at a brisk walking pace in about 55 minutes.  This routine will have to do for the foreseeable future until I can begin to gradually run again.  It’s not the end of the world and I am thankful that I can do what I can do but on occasion the EEOR comes out in me.



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My inner child…

George Sheehan once said that “…..running is the purist form of play”.  No argument here..

Last Saturday my running club (SJAC) held their annual 5k Great Grace Race and Pancake breakfast.   It’s a very casual/family oriented race that’s purpose is to “give back”  to Grace Church here in town.  The proceeds of the race go primarily to support the church’s out reach ministries and also it’s a way of saying thank you to the church community for allowing SJAC to use their facilities for their monthly meetings.  It’s warming to think about what and who their out reach ministries touch.

The race is held at a local park that’s centered around a string of lakes and creeks.  The course is out and back with the lakes mostly on the runners right side.  This turned out to be an important point as I will refer back to the “clockwise” nature of the run.  What made the race extra special was my 3 year 11 month old granddaughter Mia (Amelia) joined me.  I picked her up around 7:15 at her parents house, tossing a used three wheel jogging stroller into the trunk-  FYI- I did make sure that the tires were fully inflated but assumed wrongly that the stroller itself was in balance… 20141018_07430720141018_075412[1]


We purchase a BIB, posed for a couple of photos and then the horn sounded and we were off…  Pushing a stroller while running/jogging is not as easy as it may seem.  Complicating our efforts were Mia’s long legs that she insisted on resting on the front wheel acting as a drag or brake making it harder to push.   It was soon evident to us as well, that the stroller had a strong pull to the left – with the course predominantly a clockwise route around the creeks, the “left-pulling Jogger” made for an interesting adjustment filled run.  “LOOK OUT!! Crazy senior citizen wrestling with a jogging stroller for 3.1 miles!”   But we made it with Mia enjoying the journey and gran somewhat relieved the finish-line was in site.  I asked Mia if she wanted to climb out of the jogger and run thru the finish gate but she said ” Nay Gran, just keep pushing..”  I did.

Before the race started I took this short video of Mia warming up.  When she turns around to come back I realized I captured a Glympse of the inner child all runners must have in them. Definitely towards the end of her return you can see her lost in her own little world of self awareness.  She seems to be so natural – no perfect running form needed, but so very natural and perfect for her.  Children run as they think, from one thought to the next, from one moment to the next constantly at play.

The next morning, fighting the tail end of a cold, I skipped the Sunday morning group run but went out later for 10 wonderful miles of play….


20141018_095248BTW, Mia got a medal!!!!  I think her expression is wonderful and typical of most runners !!


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1st it’s global warming, then ebola ….

1st it’s global warming, then ebola ….  and now for the 2nd time this week someone made off with my strategically placed mid-run electrolyte water bottle …tantamount to horse thievery –(and we all know what they did to horse thieves back in the day)  “..To hell in a handbag” my mother would say…20140918_094438

Well… I will leave two bottles out next time with a note saying” ..please leave one for me…” “Kill them with kindness..” she would also say

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Trips (falls)

Trips (falls)

They always take me by surprise – happen in a instant.  Then time slows down filling my mind with a dozen calculations about landing . “Tuck and roll -Tuck and roll”  Once gravity has completed it’s duty I access the damage, pausing my garmin of course -sometimes sitting for a while waiting for my body to register all the effects of  the twisting and  the impact.


I wore this as a badge for the balance of my run home.


I know every location I’ve tripped and fallen – Every location that I almost tripped and fallen- and mostly remember the actual falls.  A  few have been witnessed by non-runners with gasps – Once I was cheered because of my recovery (tuck and roll)…My worse (to date) was on a gravel down grade allowing gravity to increase the ground impact.  I landed with an elbow under my rib cage (Bruised ribs) and multiple scraps and cuts.  Had to take a couple of days off afterwards.


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The Ring……and then some

“The Ring” and then some…

Sue and I exchanged wedding bands when we were married.   Mine ended up being too small.  It would not fit over my knuckle without applying warm soapy water.  So we visited a jeweler in town and inquired as to whether the ring could be enlarged.   “Yes” said the very nice woman behind the counter – She insisted on a size she felt certain would be perfect for my problem.  I insisted it be larger.   It became a battle of wills which I refused to loose and so the ring was enlarged (and then some) to fit over my knuckle.  It slid on and off to well.

Over time/age the circumference of my fingers reduced.   This only exasperated the problem, relegating the ring to the top draw of our bedroom night table.  I felt bad about this because I know Sue likes to see me wearing the ring.  Especially if we are socializing.   I empathized with her feelings knowing all the while that with or without the ring on my finger, I loved her no less than humanly possible (and then some).

On occasion I would try to please her by sliding the ring on with the hopes of it not literately flying off my finger without me knowing it.   One evening we made plans to meet up with very good friends for a summer evening meal in Collingswood.  I put the ring on…..

All was well until the second bottle of wine was nearing an end and I needed to visit the men’s room.  This particular restaurant had only co-ed restrooms.  This particular restroom’s lock did not work.  Well, you guessed it, the ring came flying off while I was washing my hands.  I heard it hit the floor (Thank the heavens!).  Oh, I forgot to mention that I am very farsighted.  Coke bottled Walgreens reading glasses are strewn around our house.  I left them at our table.  So I get down on my knees and try my best to find “the ring” .  Am on all fours when the door opens and a young lady appears.  I can only imagine what she was thinking….Her surprise and retreat happened quickly.  I continued an unsuccessful search, finally retreating back to our table in somewhat of a panic.  At our table I explained what happened to exaggerated expressions of disbelief…which soon turned into laughter.

No way can I leave without retrieving the ring in the restroom so I grabbed my coke glasses and enlisted my friend to guard the broken lock door.  The ring was retrieved!!  Upon my return to our table, I did get a small applause from a couple of nearby diners who were enjoying my perils.

“The Ring” is back in the our bedroom night table, where it will remain…..

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Maget (Margret Nelson Wuchter) lives with us.  She is a strong swede, born February  1924 – not quite Valentine’s day but close enough. She was raised on a farm in Illinois.  90+.  Maget – Pronounced “Ma Jet” – a nickname given to her by my wife Susan, her daughter, an angel born of an angel.

Maget  has been with us the pass #s of  years ever since Al, her husband of 59 years passed.  Laughter dominates her disposition, which I credit to her longevity.   A conversation with Maget will include a number of  topics.   The weather – she tells us  the forecast first thing every morning.   We call this “Accu-Maget”.     The Mail – did it come yet?  especially Thursdays when her People magazine is due to arrive.  The Phillies.. What channel is the game on…And upon returning from my daily run – “Well how did it go?”



Maget  has a routine that  helps the clocks in our house stay focused.  Three meals each day. Never missed one since she has been with us.  She will tell us that each meal is the  best she has ever had and will occasionally break into tears telling Sue how fortunate she is…(FYI- How fortunate we are to have her) – Breakfast maybe the highlight meal because bacon is served on a regular basis.. Don’t dare get to close to her plate, she is “food aggressive”  and will tell you she “…can’t talk right now – it’s time to eat”.

Crossword puzzles dominate the time between meals.  She’ll complete the Philadelphia Inquirer’s puzzle right after breakfast and then another half dozen before the end of the day.  I have “NEVER” heard her say a bad thing about anyone – She often completes her thoughts with a giggle.  At night we can hear her whispering her prayers before she goes to bed.

We are so so very fortunate to have her in our lives…….


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