Sunday, February 24, 2013

Run, Chris, Run

My hobby covers both topics for the week, to a degree.

Over the years I have had several short lived hobbies. I have been an amateur chef, at home brew master, and a recreational model rocket builder. None of them have really stuck (although I have plans to resurrect the brewing). The one thing which seems to have stood the test of time is running. I have been at it for a little over five years, and absolutely love it!

Running is also the hobby I wish I knew how to do or the time to learn. Now Wait a just a minute. I just said I have been running for five plus years. At this point I should know how to do it, right? I am moderately coordinated and rarely fall down while doing it, so, what is the issue? What is left to learn?

I want to get better.

Before I went back to school I was running on a very consistent basis, and was becoming fairly accomplished. The peak came at the U of I marathon weekend when I ran a 19 minute 56 second 5k Friday night and a 1 hour 37 minute half marathon Saturday morning. Later that same year I completed two ultra marathons as well.

I derive a great sense of satisfaction from being able to run for both speed and endurance. In spite of my accomplishments I do not feel I have reached my full potential as a runner. I have never pushed myself in a 5 or 10k to the point of complete exhaustion. I really want to learn what my body is capable of doing speed wise. The same can be said for the endurance distances. Barring an injury to my knee in my first ultra, I know I could have gone further and faster in that race. There is a lot that goes into training and conditioning the body to be able to do these various tasks, and I want to learn how to do it to the best of my ability.

For the time being I do not have the time or mental energy to devote to obtaining these things. To satisfy these needs I am focusing my attention on Nora. I am training her for a 1.2 mile run in May in conjunction with Peoria's first marathon. We are both excited and a bit nervous. For me, I am getting a little bit of running in, but most importantly I am sharing something I love with my daughter. Maybe someday running will be one of her favorite hobbies!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This Is Not Funny

Every now and again I am going to write without the intention of making my readers laugh. This is just such an occasion.

When I first started the No Worries blog I tried to write nearly everyday. It was a bit of a challenge coming up with different topics to cover on a daily basis, but one that I enjoyed none-the-less. In fact, it was this exercise in creativity that led to trying my hand at humorous compositions. Now, as I am not able to post as frequently, I find the situation to be just the opposite. My head is swimming with different subjects upon which to scrawl. Should I address the kids newest accomplishments and activities? Or do I bang out a page or two on Robin's wonderful work at our church? Either one would provide fantastic fodder for your enjoyment I'm sure. However, neither one would provide any insight as to why I have not been posting day to day. The real reason as you may surmise, is my foray into higher education. It stands to reason I give you a look into my life at Eureka College. There is a time and place for everything, and it's called...

Which is exactly why I am going to tell you all about the Health and Wellness group at Eureka Christian Church.

Right before I started school in August of 2011 I decided I wanted to do something to be more than just a butt in the pew. The church does a great job of keeping our mind and soul in good shape, but what of our bodies? Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Now there is something I know a bit about. I can help the church get in shape!

The first attempt was a walking and running group. We met on Saturday mornings, broke into two groups, runners and walkers, and got out had a nice little workout. The group was well received and well attended, but as I mentioned, we started just prior to school starting. Once class began every other Saturday was out for me and the group kind of lost traction. I did not, however, give up on the concept. Which brings us to October of 2012.

I decided to give the group an other try, but this time I repackaged the concept. This time around I called it a Health and Wellness group with the mission of giving the church members, and the community at large, a taste of different fitness options available to them. My plan was to bring in different fitness experts from the community and have them lead a 4 - 6 week session in their field. They would do so on a volunteer basis, and we would take a free will donation which would go to keeping the lights and heat on at the church & fund local charity programs like our food pantry.

To start I approached a friend and local yoga instructor, Peg Toliver, and asked if she would be interested in teaching a beginners yoga class. She was thrilled with the idea and came on board. With the first session planned I decided to plow forward and let the rest work itself out as we went.

We were set to meet on the first Monday of November, and run until the week before Christmas. The first evening I was cautiously optimistic, hoping we would have 15-18 people attend. We had 33! The yoga portion of the program was a huge success and even provided some new students for Peg in her regular class. Now the pressure was on to keep this thing going.

I put out a suggestion box and requested the group members to let me know what they wanted. As they say, give the people what they want. The suggestions came in and now I was faced with the task of finding additional instructors to donate their time and show off their programs. To buy myself some time I decided to tap myself.

I am currently leading a class in simple body weight exercises. This session has not been as well as attended as the yoga, but attendance is still holding in the double digits, and people seem to be enjoying it.

While this is going on I have reached out to a local man who teaches Zumba, which was one of the most requested items in my suggestion box. Like Peg, he was impressed with the idea and more than happy to give his time to the cause. I am aiming for a session starting with him in March.

So, there you have it. This, and many other goings on are why I have been neglecting the pages of No Worries. I think it has been time well spent. How about you?


Monday, January 14, 2013

Retreat or Community Conquest...The Homecoming

Day Three - Sunday

In the eyes of the women of Eureka, Sunday should have marked a triumphant return to town; conquering heros in the battle of the sexes. However, thanks to quick thinking by the men and an underestimation of our capabilties on the part of the women, that was simply not the case. So, where do things now stand? We cannot return to the status quo in light of this attempted coup. Or can we?

This speaks to the overall brilliance of the womens plan. You would think there would be an uneasy tension between the two sides. However, relations are just fine. They are fine due to the timing of their attack. The women knew by planning their attempted takeover during the NFL playoffs the men would be sufficiently distracted if all did not go according to plan.

And distracted we were.

The women came home to find their mates glued to the television, moderately sedated by suds, and bellies full of hot wings. So entranced by what was and had played out on the screens before us that we had all but forgotten what had transpired just hours before.

So what did we all learn from this?

1. Women are smart.
2. Timing is everything.
3. Men can handle the shopping and cooking for a day or two.
4. Football trumps everything.

Most Importantly

5. Two is better than one.

I, for one, am glad to have my wife home. Even if see did conspire to take over town!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Retreat or Community Conquest...Part Two.

Day Two - Saturday

Dawn broke on day two with the men in good spirits. We had survived day one of the attack from the women by getting the word out through an elaborate communication system consisting of smoke signals and Morse code. With knowledge of the plan out there and discovery that eggs and sausage are not just for breakfast we were all able to have a hearty dinner. Now attention turned to preparing for the day ahead.

As expected Nora got up in the morning, turned down my offer to help with breakfast, and prepared a sweet potato for herself; no offer was made by her to help Nigel or I. Further proof of the female plot for domination. Nigel and I had it covered, however, he with a bowl of cereal and me with more sausage and eggs.

Once breakfast was done I turned my attention to eating the rest of the weekend. Plans were made to tackle the shopping list. As I mentioned yesterday my experience owning a restaurant prepared me well for the challenges that lay ahead. We needed to launch a defensive plan.

First using my prior industry connections we ducked into Gracie's in Washington for lunch. Nora had chicken wings, Nigel enjoyed chicken tenders and I had a big grilled chicken salad. Once we were well fed we moved onto phase two of defense of the men.

Thanks to our communication system some of the men and I decided to band together for our dinner. I was charged with the task of procuring food for the evening. Once again using my restaurant connections, I went over to Cherry Garden in Washington and order two sushi platters for our meal.

With the evening meal taken care of it was time to tackle the shopping list. We drove out to Sam's and blew through the list with ease. I picked up every item and did not go off list at all. Nora even commented it was the most efficient Sam's trip she had ever been on. Severe cracks are now forming in the plan for conquest, and I could see the frustration in her eyes!

Once home and feeling confident I sat down to do what men do this time of year and watch a little playoff football before heading over to Josh's.

The plan was the same once we went over to the Yoders. He and I would eat sushi, sample some beers, and enjoy the game while the kids played. This is where we made a mistake. By Josh and I banding together we also brought together some of the womens foot soldiers.

Our daughters had managed to communicate to the women how well we were fighting back. They had to figure out some way to regain the upper hand. I still have not figured out how they did it, but somehow the women created a series of power outages in Eureka causing us to miss most of the second half of the San Francisco - Green Bay game. No doubt they thought this would drive the men insane and leave us in the confused, weakened state they were trying to accomplish through starvation. What they did not plan for, however, was our ability to communicate with men in neighboring communities. Once again by putting our smoke signals and Morse code in action we were able to stay in tune with the goings on of the game.

Good try women. I hope you enjoyed your "retreat", but I am proud to say you will return to a town full of strong and coherent men. You'll just have to try again next year!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Retreat or Community Conquest?

Robin is on a women's retreat with the ladies from our church. She has left Nora, Nigel, and I alone to fend for our selves. This shall serve as an account of our days...

Day One - Friday Night

Robin and the women folk were scheduled to leave town at 4pm, 4pm! That is before dinner! Obviously she left something going in the crock pot or a meal kept warm in the oven, right? No! You can already see the beginnings of their evil plans. They are trying to starve the men of Eureka, leaving us in a weakened state, and take over town upon their return.

Proof you say. Well if it is proof you want of their dastardly plans then it is proof you shall have.

First, Robin has had the whole family eating in a much healthier fashion for the last year; no processed foods, no sugar added foods, basically if your grandmother would not recognize it as food, then it most likely isn't and we aren't eating it. That means there are no frozen pizzas, t.v. dinners, pot pie, or Stouffer's lasagna to throw in the oven and call it dinner.

Second, Robin taught Nora how to make herself a sweet potato in the microwave. What did she teach Nigel before she left? NOTHING! The women stick together and the plot thickens!

Finally, the cupboards were left bare! All that was left was an ever growing shopping list. It is well documented in many television sitcoms that men are not capable of handling the shopping.

The seeds have been planted, the plan is in action, and we are clearly doomed. Please, even if you are not religious, pray for the men of Eureka!

Ha! All is not lost! They have forgotten one little fact that will play out to be the downfall of their sinister plan.

I used to own a restaurant.

The men shall persevere.

Stay tuned for the exciting tails to follow.


Disclaimer: actual events may have been exaggerated for comedic effect.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Back To The Beginning

Since I have been away for so long I would return to Where it all began. Well, not quite. The very first No Worries post was a pictorial review of a year in the life of the Robinson family. From there it morphed into a running countdown for the Tuke Family reunion, once that was over it took on a life as a way to keep in touch with the extended family. Somewhere along the way it took on a life as a written documentary of my running exploits. That is where I would like to pick up today.

School has taken a toll on my ability to run on a consistent basis, and I miss it desperately. Running allowed me to stay fit, calm myself after a hectic day, and provided me with time to get lost in my thoughts. As you may imagine school occupies much of the time once devoted to getting lost in my thoughts. I could not, however, abandon the fitness aspect of my life all together. I have become very passionate about healthy living. To fill the running void I began doing body weight circuit workouts. I was hooked quickly. First of all, no matter where I went I had my workout equipment. Secondly, these exercises I was doing incorporated my entire body at once. This fact allowed me to get a full body workout in a much shorter amount of time; perfect for my school schedule. Finally, the circuit format (moving from one exercise to the next with little or no rest) gave the workouts a cardio aspect; kept the lungs strong. All this leads me to where I am now.

I am trying to get a few runs worked into my routine. So far it has gone well. I have managed two runs this week, Tuesday and Thursday, three miles each. The pace is much slower than when I ran regularly, but I was still able to run the distance in its entirety. It felt fantastic to be out there on the streets again. Lost in my thoughts, breathing in fresh air, and building my mileage again.

Stay tuned for future postings and many miles. Until then... not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Thank You

As I mentioned in my return to my No Worries; I have really missed writing for the sake of writing. It turns out, based on several of your responses, you missed No Worries as well. Thank you so much for your kind words and enthusiastic replies. Nothing makes a guy feel better than his friends and family taking interest in what he has to say. Additionally, it gave me an even greater desire to share my random thoughts.

Here goes.

I indicated in Remember Me a lot has changed in the year and a half I spent away from blogging. The primary difference in my life was created by the decision to return to school. Twenty years after starting my higher education at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale I have begun again at Eureka College.

I could write for days on the profound change this experience has had on me, however, I think it would bore you a bit. Just know this, when I graduate in June with my B.S. in Organizational Leadership, I will have gained for more than a diploma. I have learned volumes about myself (thank you Bill!), made life long friends, and strengthened my convictions on leadership. Most importantly, I have both the desire and confidence to chase my passion (hopefully more on that later).

Until nest time,


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Back To The Grind

Well, this is it. With the end of the holiday season comes the end of my time away from school. The stretch I am about to begin is the home stretch. The Ocho (a nickname given to my class by one of our professors) and I have four more classes plus one group project standing between us and our diplomas. It is a bit hard to imagine we are so close to finishing. However, before I can even think about finishing, I have to start again. This is proving to be a bit difficult. Even as I write this I should be writing a short paper for my next class, Organizational Communication. It is time to get back to the grind.

Back to the grind. That has such a negative connotation to it. I, for one, do not want to have any kind of grinding taking place any where on my person.

Maybe this is why I am having such a hard time getting going. Perhaps I should flip this old saying on its ear and focus on the positive aspects.

The first image that comes to mind is coffee. You grind coffee beans. What is not to like about coffee. "Coffee smells like freshly ground heaven", Jessi Lane Adams.

Football teams grind out tough yards on the way to the winning touchdown in a hard fought game.

In both of these examples grinding produces something worth while and very desirable; something worth waiting for. In both, pleasant things happen along the way as well. The wonderful aroma released when you grind the coffee beans. The thrill of a big hit or ankle breaking move during that game changing drive.

School is much the same. This degree is definitely worth while, very desirable, and will be well worth the wait. Along the way I have met some wonderful educators and made life long friends. So, with great pleasure it is back to the grind!