What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#70)

Quote I enjoyed:

“Feelings are just visitors. Let them come and go.”


Thoughts on running and marathons…and a lot more:

Ok, I love this subject of course, but this was truly a great read.

And so, in the spirit of experimentation, I decided to see if I could run fast marathons back to back. One of the great mysteries of running is the level of effort that breaks you. To a point, going harder makes you stronger, like blowing air into a tire that gets ever firmer. But there’s a limit, and when you cross it the tire pops. Your muscles collapse and your motivation falters. Each marathon made me feel like a rag doll. It could take months before I was ready to run hard again. But maybe, I thought, this year would be different. Perhaps there was air left in the tire for running the New York City Marathon just three weeks after Chicago.

To a point, going harder makes you stronger, like blowing air into a tire that gets ever firmer. But there’s a limit, and when you cross it the tire pops.

My two older boys had come to cheer me on in Chicago, but the youngest one, then 4, had stayed in New York. I had a feeling that I would never be this fast again, and I wanted him to see me running well too. Parents can never know for sure what will inspire their kids or scar them, and few people are better at seeing through our vanities and pretensions than our children. Still, at the very least, he would get a sense of this thing I do when I put on my running shoes.

Misc Moving to Scotland

The rainbow

This week I saw the biggest, fullest, brightest rainbow I’d ever seen. It was a proper half circle, with none of those slightly weak colored gaps in it that you usually see in rainbows. Full color all the way around.

It was at the end of my run that it appeared, and I had to stop at the side of the road to pay my respects.

I was surprised. I don’t think I had ever seen one like it.

When I left for my run, and actually often on my runs, I see partial rainbows, as the rain and dark and clouds seem to be in a constant fight for control over the skies. After a mostly sunny run, the skies grew dark, and the wind and rain came at it hard for a brief time. The soaking sideways type of rain that I’m finding is typical here, but that makes you want to fight it, lean in a little bit and say, “I’m here.”

And then it all stopped, and then I stopped because I had this rainbow alongside me. It disappeared quickly of course as I started running again and sneaked looks back to see it fade slightly in one section, and then another, until it became fragmented and then barely visible. I didn’t have my phone or anything else to capture it with, but doubtless, it wouldn’t have mattered. You had to be there.


Not yet

Each time I go for a longer trail run, my typical turn around spot is a part of the trail with a clearning next to a cemetary. I never thought about it much initially, but after a few times I started to notice that the graves all had fresh flowers on them everyday without fail. Some had balloons, cards, and other items as well. Who was putting all of this out regularly? Certainly not every grave had a family member coming out everyday? Whomever it was, they never missed a day it seemed.

The fact that these graves were always being remembered seemed to peak my own remembrance of this place and what it symbolizes, and I’ve really started to enjoy the short time I get at the mid-point of my run, looking out at the well-attended graves.

“Not me,” I think to myself, “not yet.”

And then I head back, still running and still very much alive. Any trouble or anxiousness that was rattling around on the way there seems insignifigant after seeing the graves and being reminded that it could certainly be worse. Would I rather it just be all over? What would they give to trade places and take on my little worries?

No, best to enjoy it while it lasts because it will end soon enough.

But not yet.

What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#49)

Amazing “paintings” can be made in code on a web browser: Check out Pure CSS Lace. See how they’re made here.

Running in the rain is a good habit: I’m trying to apply this in other areas of my life.

This was so funny I was actually crying: Dear Guy Who Just Made My Burrito:. I guess this came out a long while ago but I must have missed it. So good.

Bonus laugh: Google Launches ‘The Google’ For Older Adults

Tips for reducing distraction: I was trying grayscale on my phone to see what it does for improving my attention but switched it back after half a day simply due to the fact that my phone is my only camera. However, I have removed all icons from my home screen and am a fan of using search for launching apps instead of the icon.

Here are some other helpful tips to take control from Humane Tech (be sure to check out the apps/services recommended at the bottom of the page).

Quote I loved:

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Reminds me of the Tim O’reilly and the mantra of creating more value than you capture. Good stuff.

A useful guide to understanding the impeachment saga. Even though I didn’t really need this it’s pretty great and I kind of want to be somewhat informed on the topic. Now where is the equivalent for Brexit?

An exercise for discovering the cause of stress and emotions: I had heard about the work of Byron Katie before, but was recently reacquainted and read more about the four questions practice:

Next time you are upset at something or someone, think about why and try asking these four questions:

Is it true?
How can I know it’s absolutely true?
How do I react when I believe that thought?
Who would I be without that thought?

Distilling many of my aspirations as a parent, and an attempt to be gentle with myself as I inevitably don’t live up to them much of the time.

Finally, a thoughtful tool if ever in doubt from Seth Godin: A year from now…

Will today’s emergency even be remembered? Will that thing you’re particularly anxious about have been hardly worth the time you put into it?

Better question: What could you do today that would matter a year from now?

Moving to Scotland

Running in the rain

As an avid runner, I do lots of running in the rain, wind, sleet and frost. In Scotland this is doubly-so. I run no matter if I’m feeling tired, have a headache or am relaxed and ready. On nicer days I tend to see plenty of people on the trail, and on the more brutal days, almost no one. I love those days.