Monday, March 31, 2014

Reaching Indiana

So, today I ran 6 miles at an 8:31 pace.  Pretty easy for me.  (As I always point out, I realize how much it is a gift to be able to say that.)  That puts me up to 521.3 miles total.  That puts me just over the Ohio/Indian border just a little north and west of Harrison, Ohio.

Not much to say about the run other than that I spent a lot of mental energy and effort looking at my watch to make sure I did not run too fast.  (Again, a gift and something I should grow used to over time.)

Course?  A nice one.  Lake, Bellona, York, Belvedere, Loch Raven (honked at by taxi that was over a block away), Northern, around Mars, Loch Raven, Northern, Alameda, Walker, Northwood, Cedarcroft, Yorkshire, and home.

On my virtual pilgrimage, in Harrison, Ohio, I would have run right past St. John the Baptist Church.  What do I think of when I think of John the Baptist?

Dressed oddly.  (Or perhaps camel hair wasn't so odd at the time.)  Still, I feel some camaraderie as a result.

Ate oddly.  Love the honey.  Not so much the locusts.  Bible doesn't say he was much of a cook.  But certainly didn't eat typical things.  Like that too.

Prepared the way.  That is an interesting contrast with Peter who implemented after Jesus taught him.  I chose Peter for my confirmation name.  I am in a job in which I am largely implementing.  Although occasionally the role of the person who is in a second tier management job is to pave the way.  Still, I think about the mix of paving the way and implementing and think that my confirmation name was a better choice to represent what I do now.  It will be interesting to me to see just how much my job transitions over time to one of paving the way.  Either for the Dean.  Or for the Assistant Deans I work with to do their jobs.  

In any case, in my spiritual musings today, it is interesting to think about those who symbolize different roles in the life of the church and for me to think about how these fit in with my own life now and over time.  This virtual pilgrimage has led to a lot of interesting things for me to ponder and I am only 1/4 of the way to my goal.  

More miles to run in the morning.  

Sunday, March 30, 2014

All Are Welcome

Today’s run began at 6 AM. I had planned to start just a little earlier, around 5:50 so that I could get in my 10 miles without having to push quite so hard.  Do I like pushing?  Yes.  For years now when I run with my main running partner, we run 7:45-8:00/mile and call it a conversational pace.  It truly can be for us.  But just because we can carry on a conversation at that pace does not mean that I should necessarily be running that pace all the time.  As I found in Sydney, 9 minute miles beat up my body a lot less when I have the time for them.  Nevertheless, I run about 1:21 (just over 8 minutes per mile) for the 10 miles.  Today it was down the hill to Cedarcroft, Northwood, Northern, Alameda, Overbook, Loch Hill, Loch Raven, around the Mars shopping center and back to Northern, Loch Raven, Belvedere, Northern, Springlake, Homeland, Charles, Stevenson, Bellona, Gittings, York, Lake, and home (with a tiny extra bit to get the full 10).  It felt great.  It was drizzling the whole tie.  Raining hard occasionally.  Windy sometimes.  Tough but not impossible combination.  And it felt refreshing.  I may have been a little overdressed—tights, tight long-sleeved shirt, windbreaker, gloves, baseball cap.  May not have needed anything other than the tights and shirt most of the time.  But it worked.

Total?  515.3 miles.  That puts me on Harrison Ave.  West of Springdale Rd.  Moving toward Indiana.

When I think of spirituality and Cincinnati, I think of an experience between my junior and senior years at Penn State.  I spent a week in Appalachia with the Glenmary Home Missionaries.  A group of missionaries that works exclusively in the United States.  For the past two weeks in Sunday school at our parish, I have worked with the children to introduce them to the activities of Catholic Relief Services.  One-fourth of their resources stay in the United States.  For the Glenmary missionaries, it is all of the resources.  They do a lot of work in Appalachia.  I remember spending the week in Kentucky.

This was shortly after a somewhat serious relationship with someone who was not Catholic had ended.  And before my relationship with my wife (almost one year of dating, just over one year of being engaged, and now almost 22 years of marriage) began. 

I remember coming to the conclusion that for my lifelong relationship I was looking for someone who shared my faith.  My faith that is important to me.  My faith that has wavered sometimes.  But my faith nevertheless. 

It was a great week for both finding out about a part of the country I’d never been to (Kentucky) and for pondering why I was making certain choices.

Today’s opening song at church has a chorus that goes, “All are welcome/All are welcome/All are welcome in this place.”  The priest pointed this out and talking about how it tied in with the readings.  I never did quite follow his logic about the tie in, but as my virtual pilgrimage starts to pull away from Cincinnati, the hone base of the missionaries where I spent a week pondering among other things with whom I wanted to spend my life, it is worth thinking about the statement “all are welcome” and my life.

Sometimes, the people in my life now think I am being critical and not always welcoming of them.  But I try to be.

In fact, I try to be welcoming of everyone in my life.  I try not to exclude.  I try to at least be polite and make people feel welcome.  Life in general.  In my Sunday School classroom.  In my management role.  When I run.  Does it mean I have to be best friends with everyone?  Of course, not.  It just means I have to treat everyone fairly and not make the feel unwelcome by what I do. 

Am I perfect?  No.  Not even close. 

But welcoming people.   Paying things forward to people.  Communicating with people.  Learning from people.  It is all part of what makes life very interesting.  It is a challenge.  Jesus welcomed all—until they gave him reason not to welcome them.  Even then, he prayed for those who were not welcoming. 

It is a high standard to achieve.  It is definitely worth the try. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Repeating the Same Thing and Expecting Different Results--Insanity

So, I very much enjoy the fact that on any given Saturday I can go out and run a half marathon distance whether on the trail at NCR, at the Loch Raven Reservoir (where I have not been in ages but this is a great time of year to go and run at sunrise), or even just around my "neighborhood" (although I have to run a big version of a neighborhood to get a half marathon distance) and hit a time that is equal to or better than the first race I ran in 2009.  I am lucky to claim that.  Not sure how many more years I'll be able to say that.

In any case, this morning, I ran across Lake to Bellona, to Northern, Springlake Way, Homeland, Charles, Cold Spring, Roland, Northern, Charles, Stevenson, Osler, Towsontown, Burke, York, Hatherleigh, Rich Hill, Copeleigh, Regester, Beverly, Arran, Sherwood, Northern, Chinquapin, Lake, Parkway, Cedarcroft, Northwood, Woodson, and home.  

In any case, I ran negative splits.

It took me up to 505.3 total.  That puts me on Springdale Rd still inside the Cincinnati beltway.

The reason I made the reference to repeating the same thing and expecting something different is that I knew this morning was warmer and drizzling.  That is a recipe for having my shirt be relatively heavy and relatively clingy.  You combine those two things when running for 1:43:52 and you quickly remember bad lessons from the past about chafing.  (Some may consider this TMI, but it is a risk of running for guys.)  Yes, guys get chafed nipples when they run sometimes.  There are some pictures of guys with shirts that look gruesome after runs.  

I've done it before.

I have stuff that prevents that outcome.

I even thought about using it.

But I didn't want to risk waking my wife after already thinking I had everything I needed.  So, I didn't apply anything beforehand.

All I can say is big mistake.

And sign of insanity.

I could have predicted the outcome.

In fact, I did predict the outcome.

But for some reason I assumed the outcome would somehow be different.

How wrong I was.

I should not let it happen again.

And if it happens in such a simple case, then this is a lesson to beware of such things in the rest of my life--whether personal relationships or work.  If a poor outcome is easily predicted, and I have what I need to avoid it, and I fail to use what I need to avoid it, then that is a sign of insanity and I have no one to blame but myself.  

Executing on a Goal

This week the management group at the business school had a day long planning session and talked about how well we had executed against last year's goals and then planned a new set of goals toe execute against in the 2014-15 academic year.  

Yesterday's run was all about executing against a plan.

I have been getting a little more sleep recently.  With 6-8 hours of sleep a night, it is amazing how much easier it is to make it through the day.  Two days this week without a single issue with feeling drowsy during meetings.  Now to work on getting that to 5 and then doing the same over the weekend so that I can make it through things like mass, concerts, children's performances, etc.

But anyway, I slept a little longer than usual, worked from 4:35-5:25 after doing some dishes.  I realize that starting work at 4:35 after doing some dishes doesn't sound like a "late" start but when I had a chance to go to bed before 10 and then sleep till after 4 that gets me my 6+ hours of sleep rather than just 4-5.  The 4-5 has to stop.

In any case, I didn't get out the door until just past 5:45 and then had to wait for my watch to connect to satellites.  I started my run at 5:49.  ANd I had one goal--finish by 6:45 so that I could get to my office as close to 8 as possible.

So, I ran my 7.2 miles and got back at about 6:47.  That was a nice run.  It took me over to Charles, out to Stevenson, over to Sherwood, and back across Overbrook to York before coming home.  And I held 8 minute miles. So it was good.

Where did the 7.2 miles put me?  At 492.2 miles total.  Running along Kemper Rd.  inside the I-275 beltway around Cincinnati. In Sharonville.  Nearest church--St. Michael the Archangel.  I've learned more about some traditions around St. Michael from my kids non-religious school that makes liberal use of secularized versions of both Jewish and Christian traditions in its curriculum than I ever did growing up.  It is interesting how it all fits together.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Yesterday's workout was a workout on the track.  My training partner of the day wanted to do 5x1600.  Having arrived a little late (despite only doing 800M of warmup), I could not manage 5x1600, so we decided to do 2x3200 + 1600 with a quarter mile between each.  Combine that with a half mile to start and a half to finish, and I did 6.5 miles.  (She did another half as she'd arrived a bit earlier and ran two extra warmup laps with the rest of our Tuesday morning group.)  In any case, we ran a slow 7:03 to start but then ran just under 7 (ending around 6:48 for the 1600) for the other intervals.  That was the most under control track workout I had done in a long time.  Yes, a challenge to my system to speed back up to 7 minute miles after a week of long mileage at 8:30-9 min/mile.  But not so much of a challenge as when I had been doing 6:20's or 6:30's.  And it was amazing, as always, to watch one guy who ran 3x3200 with each mile being at sub-6 pace.

So, this puts me another 6.5 miles west on US 22/Ohio 3 and I am approaching Cincinnati proper.  This has been a really long way on US 22--similar to spending a lot of time on US 40 earlier in this virtual trip.  It would be fascinating to run it in reality to see the ways a road changes and evolves as it moves west across the country.

That sense of evolution is what I want to write about today. Sunday's entry was written before mass.  And I have run only once since mass on Sunday, so I will go back to the reading.  At St Pius X at the 10:30 mass, they did the long version of the reading.  It was from the Gospel of John, Chapter 4, verses 5-42.  It was a long reading.  I don't recall the church ever doing an "interactive multi--person reading" except on Palm Sunday in the past.  But this reading used a narrator, one reader for the woman from Samaria whom Jesus asked to get a drink, and the priest reading Jesus's part.  I mostly remember from the homily the priest talking about how the woman evolved in her relationship with Jesus in this brief interaction from first referring to him simply as a Jew (fear of the unknown), to then calling him sir (recognizing his humanity as a person worthy of interaction), to then recognizing him as a prophet, and finally recognizing that he is the Messiah.  Quite an evolution in a short time.

There are so many things in life that start as unknown and evolve to higher levels of interaction over varying periods of time.

So, I thought about my relationship with running, my fellow runners, and the community of running.

I remember when I started running in high school that it was an unknown.  I had run as a part of soccer.  I had run to play basketball but running was new.  Then, I loved track and cross country was just a necessary bridge during the fall season.  Finally, running has become what I look to each day for fitness and spiritual sustenance.

I remember that I did not know other runners when I began.  Throughout high school there were very few other distance runners in my grade.  Then I went away from running for years.  When I came back, I first saw running as simply a solitary activity to improve fitness.  Then, I joined a training group.  Then, I joined a group to run with others to help them with self-improvement.  Now, I run with friends as often as I can.  Sometimes I lift them up.  Sometimes they life me up.  The individuals with whom I run show gratitude for the company all the time.

Finally, there is the running community.  Four years ago, I just thought I'd train and occasionally show up for a race.  Now, I am still a part of the training group community even though it has been three years since the last time I formally participated with the Charm City Run training group.  I have kept most of my business with their stores.  Then, I joined Back on My Feet.  That provided a different, but equally valuable running experience.  My ties are weaker than they once were as life has taken over.  but they are still there.  More recently, I have become a part of the running/blogger community.  I have been a running blogger since 2010.  At that time, I wrote and ran and trained and raised money to honor Gerry Paradiso.  I turned that first series of blog entries into The Radical Transformation of Runner 1313--a fictional autobiographic tale of my experience.  Then I continued writing.  And finally, I settled on the idea of Connecting the Dots & Nourishing the Soul.  And I have stuck with that.  For two Lenten seasons, I wrote every day.  Then, I wrote three things last year that I linked together--Mile 27 (a series of 26 post-Boston Marathon healing essays), 40 Days to Better in the early fall leading up to the Baltimore Running Festival, and then The Spirituality of Advent.  This year, I am pursuing my virtual pilgrimage and writing and reflecting along the way.  And in the process of following another runner who writes So What? I Run, I have now been introduced to a whole community of running bloggers or runners with interesting social media pages who support each other.

What an interesting evolution.  I think it makes me a better person.  I try to continue to use my running to motivate other growth.  And I hope I succeed.  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pushing Through

Today, I ran 5.5 miles.  That puts me up to a total of 478.5 miles.  That leaves me still on US 22 headed for Cincinnati.  

Today's life lesson was on the effort it takes to get started and how it is worthwhile to push through.

Not long ago, I had a workout on a morning that doubled as a critical discussion with one of my advisees about finishing her MPH and her career in public health after she finishes.  She is, by all measures, a faster runner than I am.  I recall her asking whether I had any difficult motivating myself to get up to go out and run every day.  I was surprised by the question coming from her, given how good a runner she is.  But I did respond that I do not generally have any problem getting myself going.

In the past week, I had no difficulty getting started on my first run in Australia after three days of rest (two of them unintentional).  After running 10 miles on the first day in Australia, I had no problem getting started on the second day.  Or the third.  Then, when I came home, I had no problem getting up for the 5:30 AM run on the first day back.  

This morning was completely different.  Last night for work, I attended a dinner celebrating the fact that the second cohort of Executive MBA students had completed their program.  It was a nice dinner.  I was asked to say a few words.  And I enjoyed the buffet dinner and wonderful selection of desserts including one that was caramel and chocolate.  I had one glass of pinot noir.  It was a very nice pinot.  It was, I suppose, sort of a large glass.  But this morning, whether it was jet lag catching up to me or the pinot noir or who knows what, I just wasn't feeling happy when my alarm went off.  Then, I wasn't feeling happy even after I got up and spent some time clearing emails on the computer.  

I stared at the screen looking at my mileage.  I had accumulated 44.5 miles in 4 days.  I was up to 473 miles total.  I had penciled in a rest day tomorrow, on Monday, but I thought about making today the rest day and then running tomorrow.  

I thought about the fact that I had originally planned to meet a friend to run this morning but that she had to back out because of a reemerging family health issue. I thought about the fact that I didn't have to show up to run with someone.  And then I thought about what a wasted opportunity it would be if I did not run.  

So, I dragged myself away from the computer.  Dressed warmly--to warmly in fact.  And went out.

I did what I increasingly do when I run--started without a particular goal in mind other than to cover a minimum of a certain number of miles.   I ran Lake out to York.  Seeing a red light I ran down York to Northern.  Then across Northern to Bellona.  Down Bellona back to York.  Then down to Woodbourne.  Across to Loch Raven--crossing one of the bridges I enjoyed crossing last week.  Up Loch Raven to Northern.  Around the Mars shopping center.  Then back across Northern to Chinquapin.  Across Woodson and up the hill on Cedarcroft.  

I felt much better.  

Life was good for pushing through.

Motivation to complete is a good thing.   

Saturday, March 22, 2014

More of the Same--with a Practical Lesson

Today, I met up with the same friend who is preparing for Boston with whom  I'd run 13.6 miles two weeks ago.  This time, we took the pace much more easily and ran just under 10 before taking a break to meet other Back on My Feet runners at the Helping Up Mission.  We ran most of the miles at a pace slower than 8:30.  That matched what I had been running in Australia.  It also matched what our stated goal was.  And it was a nice run around the promenade around the Inner Harbor again.  We ran a total of 14.5 miles--or just a little more.  That gets me up to 472.5 miles total for the year.  I am on my final approach to Cincinnati on US 22 and PH 3. 

No particularly large towns in that amount of space.

Major insight of the day--doing the same thing in one part of your life while dealing with forced change in other parts is good for balance.  My running was exactly the same as I'd been doing for three straight days (albeit a little longer today) but my stomach was in knots for the last 10 miles or so.  That does not happen to me very often.  I think it may have had to do with my pattern of eating since I ran yesterday.  No breakfast.  No lunch at the University of New South Wales.  A large burger that included beets as a topping in the airport.  Two meals on the plane to Dallas.  A large smoothie at Smoothie King in the Dallas airport.  Then when I got home around 9:30 PM east coast time (this would be after 1 PM Saturday back in Australia) I had to eat.  I cobbled together a dinner of pretzels, Greek yogurt, and a few other things.  I think my stomach reacted this morning.  I did still manage, but I know not to mess with eating habits too much in the future.  

Nothing particularly spiritual about this one.  This is all practical.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Edge

Last day in Sydney.

10 more miles

30 miles in 3 days of running after 3 days off.

Hoping for 14 and 8 over the weekend.

Today, I waited till after an early morning thunderstorm.

Then, I left and my legs were yelling at my for the first time this week.

I figured--10K at least.  That would get me marathon distance over three days.

But then I got into the run.  

I pass three miles and I felt good.

I passed four miles and I felt better.

I turned around just shy of 5 when Anzac Parade headed south entered an area with lots of new apartment and office building construction.  I guess it is not brand new as at least some of it was there last time I was here two years ago.  I ran most of the way to Botany Bay.  I could see the bay.  Bright lights.  Many cranes.

I saw a lot of cyclists.

I passed St. Andrew's catholic church in Malabar.  Cute little church.  Andrew the apostle.  A fisherman.  Appropriate for this part of the world.  

I really felt good.

I am really back on track for the mileage I want.

I am now at 458.5.  Still chugging along US 22/OH 3.  Now on Main Street in Wilmington, Ohio.  In Wilmington there is a St Columbkille Catholic church.  Apaprently brought Catholicism to Scotland.  Fascinating as the last Catholic church in a town I virtually ran though was from Ireland.  Perhaps that says something about who originally settled in this part of Southern Ohio.   

My reference to "the edge".  Feeling like I am a bit on the edge of pushing too hard but really enjoying where I am.   

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hard Wired

Last time I was in Sydney was January 2012.  At that time I ran down to Botany Bay, to Coogee Beach a couple times, and I participated in the Sydney resolution run near Olympic Park.

I would have to search for the last time I was in Sydney and ran to the Opera House.

This morning, I headed north on Anzac Parade figuring that 5 miles out and 5 miles back for a total of 10 miles wouldn't take me all the way to the Opera House.  But I didn't check in advance.  And I was wrong.

The interesting thing was that despite how long it has been since I did this run, it all came back to me.  Running up Anzac Parade.  When it becomes Flinders.  How to go around the corner at the Hyde Park Hotel.  Past St Mary's of the Cross--honoring an Australian woman who did wonderful things for the poor.  Past the artistic rhino.  Around and down to the harbor.  The beautiful sight of the bridge.  On the promenade around the Opera House.  And back again.  Without stopping my watch at traffic lights I ran about the same amount of time as yesterday.  The course seems almost "hard wired" in my brain for me to have done it again so easily.

Where does that put me on my quest?  At 448.5 miles now.  Another 10 miles west on US 22.  Now just west of Sabina, Ohio.

What is important about hard wiring?  The Dean I now work for likes to talk about pattern recognition for solving business problems.  One way of thinking about something that I describe as "hard wired" is that I am recognizing patterns.  I could also describe it as being in the spirit of my demonstrating and exhibiting a pattern of doing the same thing over and over again.  

For my own "business", (i.e., the business of my success, the business of how I manage myself, the business of how I manage employees, the business of how I teach, and the business of how I do research) and solving problems that I face, a key is to recognize my own patterns.  Do I repeat things?  Do I repeat good things?  Do I make the same mistakes over and over again?  All of this is a part of my own pattern recognition.  Recognizing if a behavior (particularly a negative one) seems to be hard wired.  And doing something about it if it does.

Hard-wired running courses or good behaviors are a very positive thing.

Hard-wired negative behaviors need to be revised. 

Running What I Know

Of the five days for which I will be in Sydney for at least part of the day, yesterday (the third day) was the day on which I had my first opportunity to run.  Why did it have to wait until then?  Because I had packed in a way that my running shoes and all the clothes in which I could run were in the bag that didn’t make it on the connecting flight from the US to Australia.  So, I obviously couldn’t run on day one.  And then the luggage did not get to me and the research associate with whom I traveled until 7:30 PM on day 2.  So, I got up yesterday morning early, left just past 5, and ran.  And what a joy it was after three days (Sunday when I was traveling all day and lost the day because of crossing the international dateline, and Monday and Tuesday in Australia) to just run.

Did I run fast?  No.  I averaged nine minute miles.  I can’t think of the last time I averaged nine minute miles. Especially for the distance I ran—10 miles.  Even for a workout rather than a race that distance would normally take somewhere between 7 and 10 minutes less.

But being in Sydney and not having studied the map as closely as I might, I decided to stick with what I knew or to go just beyond what I knew in one case and to make sure that I could find my way back to what I knew.  That led to multiple “out and back” sections of my run.  The entire run was going to be “out and back” anyway.  While I don’t enjoy doing that back home any more than necessary, I find it easiest to do in Australia because I don’t have a sufficiently detailed working map of Sydney (or the suburban area where the University of New South Wales is) in my head to do a big loop.

So, aside from going down one street that I thought was parallel to something I knew but turned out not to be and I was able to recover from, I ran what I knew.  Slowly to get the legs going again after days of sitting.

And I ended up running to Coogee Beach, a bit along the promenade there, and back through Randwick to Anzac Parade.  It was a very enjoyable run. 

It was very much like the first year of my job—pushing just a little beyond my comfort zone but generally I come back to what I know.  What I know has been pretty reliable thus far, and continues to work when I need it to.  There are some interesting lessons from pushing just beyond in life.

The 10 miles puts me up to 438.5 and puts me 1.5 miles outside of Washington Courthouse, Ohio, still on US-22 headed west.  The Catholic church in the town was St. Colman of Cloyne, honoring a man in Ireland who died around 600 and who opened a monastery in Cloyne in County Cork.  Apparently he was quite a poet.  So, to close this entry, I will write a short haiku.

Moving just beyond
All I know is “brilliant”! “New”

While feeling secure.

Here is the actual course showing multiple "out and back" ranges.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Many Bridges to Cross

32 hours since I’ve run. 

I’m now thousands of miles away.  I am in Brisbane on the way to Sydney for a research project for work. 

In some ways I can’t believe it has been only 32 hours since I ran.  In that time, I showered, packed, helped Daniel change the cat’s litter, took two of my kids grocery shopping, took Christopher to and from his piano lesson, got gas, gave the car to Christopher for the week, made Sherry and me omelets with provolone and pancetta, got picked up by my sister-in-law, took the long way around to BWI, met serendipitously with my research associate who is on the same trip, chatted, was on an interesting flight to Dallas that included an unintended stop in Little Rock, and then had a very long flight from Dallas to Brisbane.

This week I will get to run in Australia again.

Yesterday, back home (or two days ago on the calendar here as it is already Monday morning in Australia), I did a 14 mile run alone.  I was hoping to run with one of my training partners, but her father-in-law is in ad particularly bad state at the moment.  I have not heard from her since Saturday afternoon to know whether he has lost his battle or not.

The run was a nice one.  I left home, ran across Lake to Bellona, down to Melrose, across to Charles, down to Northern, across to Roland, down to 40th, back to University, down to 33rd, over to Harford (via 31st), up to Argonne, over to Hillen, up to Cold Spring, over to Loch Raven, up to Woodbourne, across to York, up to Walker, and then wound around my neighborhood to get to 14.  A great big loop finishing with many twists sand turns to get to my desired outcome.

Total for the year so far: 428.5 miles.  Where does that put me?  Continuing along US 22 West approaching the Cincinnati area.

With 14 miles run at a pace of a bit more than 8 minutes per mile, what did I have time to ponder.  First, the beauty of running streams.  While there was little sign of water in the first half of the run, I ran within site of Lake Montebello and then crossed a number of streams as I wound my way back up to and around my neighborhood. 

But more important than streams is the setting of bridges.  What bridges?  Not just any bridges.  But the bridge on Harford running up from 31st to Argonne that overlooks a stream and a park.  The bridge on Argonne that crosses what is presumably the same stream as I headed west approaching the Morgan State campus.  The bridge on Woodbourne as I traversed from the area just south of Good Samaritan to the businesses of Govans.  And the bridge in my own neighborhood over the little stream near Chinquapin. 

Why is the theme of bridges important?  So much of my job is about building them.  Not constructing them (although we do have a real estate AND infrastructure program at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School).  But building symbolic bridges.  Meaning?  Well, of course, it is similar to the theme of connecting the dots.  I have to find ways to bring together people who need to come together for something that is greater than either side by itself.  I have to find ways to bring people together who might otherwise not be very cooperative with one another.  I have to find ways to get past problems and continue in a positive light.  I love it.  It is one of the reasons that being in a second level management job is the right thing for right now.  And life is good. 

Plus, I like seeing how the bridges hold up.  It brings back memories of running over bridges in Upper Darby in high school. 

Also there are amazingly variable bridges.  Different widths. Some with guard rails and fences.  Some where pedestrians are better protected from cars than others.  But when I am running alone all make me think.  And all give me some idea of what it might be like in a movie about someone just plugging along.

It focuses me on why connections are important.

Looks like I will miss an extra day of running due to luggage that got left behind.