One Day, We’ll See It’s Us And Not Them…

“I want a reality based on how I feel now, and I shouldn’t have to work or wait for it.” Don’t we associate this behaviour with toddlers? What does that say about our current state of social development?

I was reading an article, found in The Guardian, speaking of the levels of pollution humans are causing to the depths of the ocean. A place we know less about than the surface of the moon. A can of Spam and a can of Budweiser among contents discovered on the slopes leading down towards the Sirena Deep. Just like space, we don’t even need to be there to demonstrate how destructive we are as a species.

You know, I really find it mind-boggling at times, how much time we spend and to what extent we go to point the finger at each other, blaming each other for not being allowed to live out our feelings as reality. “I should be allowed to do this”, “I should be allowed to say that”, “I should be allowed to be this way” and “I should be allowed to be that way”, and the whole time we spend pointing the finger at someone else, we contribute to the destruction of this place we are supposed to call home. To the point, we are damaging and polluting places of beauty we’ll never actually get to see with our own eyes. Maybe we need to build walls around ourselves. Not to keep destruction out, but to keep destruction in and contained.

We talk of peace but spend billions on the perfecting of nuclear weapons. We blame people coming in for our problems and then have the audacity to reside, unwanted, in their countries. All the while boasting of of how great our country is and how great we are as people, while those we speak to look on and wonder how that’s possible when our message is delivered from the safe end of a rifle. We spend billions on band-aid fixes to ever-growing problems, like pollution, because global extinction shouldn’t be a thing to stop us having what we want. As time marches on to an inevitable end, the majority of society live with their heads in the sands of their own perceived happiness because the enjoyment of here and now is more important than the survival of those around us and the generations that will follow. Our support for good causes always seems virtual. Taps on pictures and Like buttons and interestingly, the majority of protests we see promoted now have switched from “We need…” to “We want…”

“I want a reality based on how I feel now, and I shouldn’t have to work or wait for it.” Don’t we associate this behaviour with toddlers? What does that say about our current state of social development?

“They” aren’t the problem. “We” are the problem.

Photograph Credit – A container of Spam rests at 4,947 meters on the slopes of a canyon leading to the Sirena Deep in the Mariana trench. Photograph: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration

R.I.P. John Sullivan: 300m Reps Will Never Be The Same!

I can still hear John’s voice resonating across Mile End’s floodlit track, on winter nights. “Ho!” would be the cry, signalling ANOTHER 300m repetition. The group would lurch forwards to speed, assuming a human steam train, as it hurtled through the night, heavy breathing becoming condensation, pluming into the cold air. “Right through!” would signal the end of every repetition, followed by his trademark chuckle and smile. I think I only saw him angry once.
John was easily recognized. Aside of the trademark smile, his pure white hair was never out of place and he was probably the ONLY man to carry fresh-pressed corduroy pants into the year 2000! Along with his everlasting stopwatches and small bounce, when he joked with his athletes, a key part of UK Athletics has disappeared. Judging from the many pleasant comments I’ve seen, and based on what I know of him personally, however, this disappearance is only in body. It’s very clear that his legacy and many pleasant memories still live on. To coin the statement of a good friend of mine, “300m reps, on 60s recovery will never be the same!”

John Sullivan, sir, salute.

Today, In 1996. They Struck Again…

I’ll never forget the moment it happened, as I’m sure no one else can.
I was typing some homework on an electric typewriter that we had acquired somehow. I can’t remember where we got it. I only remember that you could type so many characters and then had to push enter for the line to be printed on the paper. I remember how frustrated I used to get when I made a mistake.

I remember the night being shattered by a noise so loud that my curtains shook and all the car alarms in the neighbourhood were set off. I jumped but can’t remember much else about the moment. It was so sudden, as if it didn’t even happen. Such a surreal moment, where I looked out of my window, staring blankly, not really knowing what to say or do, if there really was anything that could be said or done. That was until I heard one of the neighbours, “Sounded like a bomb…”
“But they’ve been quiet for so long”, I thought.
Realization sunk in like a harsh sobering pill, as a never-ending flood of emergency vehicles made it’s way past my viewpoint of East India Dock Road, London, towards South Quay. The IRA did it again… A friend from school lost his Dad that night…

It’s a strange thought to know you’re a 15 mins walk away from an act of terrorism, aimed at causing mass disruption, with the loss of innocent life worthy collateral for promotion of a cause those lives know nothing about, by a person who knows nothing about the lives he is bringing to a sudden, cold close. It just so happens that this time the collateral wasn’t as bad as it could have been. But this is loss of life. What’s a scale…?

You can find further information about the attack HERE

In the years I’ve spent travelling since then, there is one thing that has stood out to me. Terrorism just isn’t terrorism unless you are deemed to be Muslim or from the Middle East, specifically. Pretty sad, really.
When I have conversations with people I meet now, about the unrest caused, all-round, over the politics of Northern Ireland, I’m met with gasps of shock and horror and “I never knew that!” Then you break the news that terrorism has impacted all continents throughout history, by individuals claiming to be from all slices of the religious pie. The way people respond, as though ‘terrorism’ was added to the world’s vocabulary and dictionaries just yesterday, based on acts of atrocity by men and women from a single geographical place, is just beyond me.

Terrorism is a world problem and it’s going to take nothing less than the world’s people to put an end to it.

BBC News: Dictionary of dead language complete after 90 years

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Dictionary of dead language complete after 90 years – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13715296

This is old news, dating back to June 2011. I still find it fascinating, though.

Sometimes, it’s as if scientific breakthrough today is a regurgitation of ancient news, dating back to pre- ancient Egypt. I ask myself if we ever were the cavemen that some claim. With the Assyrian language brought into context, we are now that much further back into time and still appearing as smart, if not smarter than we are now.

BBC News: Face of Orkney’s St Magnus reconstructed

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Face of Orkney’s St Magnus reconstructed – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-38892669

This area of forensics and DNA really fascinate me. It’s good to be able to add a further dimension when reading historical documents of people and events.

Sometimes, I read about how we lived historically and think about how easy we have it now, with everyone trying to have their feelings catered for. Nowadays, you upset someone and find yourselves unfriended on Facebook. Back then, you were executed with an axe blow to the skull!

Runner Profile – Darren Robinson

I was interviewed regarding my track training. Here is the blog.

Thanks!

Run856

Darren took me through a track workout on a brisk February morning, and then we sat and chatted about his running and athletic career and future goals.

Before I tell you about Darren, I should tell you a little thing about me: I was not in the least bit athletic until I hit my early 20s.  So I have no experience with high school or collegiate sports, so the kind of track workout I did with Darren this morning was completely new to me.  We started with a few warmup laps, then went into a five minute AMRAP of pushups, pyramids (going from a plank position to a pike position), and squats. We did about 60 meters of walking lunges that burned enough the cold no longer was a concern. From there, we moved into a few rounds of high-knees, butt kicks, and track skips. Then, we moved on to…

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Back On Track!

This week, I signed up for my new track team, the Garden State Track Club, and this morning was my first training session with them. I’m BRIMMING with excitement!

I hadn’t trained in a competitive group since leaving the UK in January of 2012 so I was definitely rusty, especially getting out at the start of runs, but it was good to be in the mix of like-minded athletes and pulled along by guys that are a lot more on point.

It was a cold morning at Highland Park High School, with the temperature down in the 20s, but it was good to slip straight back into that winter training groove that I know so well. I had missed it! I felt at home, which is something I wasn’t able to find when I tried to establish myself as an Obstacle Course athlete. I speak about this in a previous blog, where I discuss how everything isn’t for everybody.
It was pleasant to hear small jokes and laughter, as we went through some dynamic stretching and mobility, where I quickly discovered that my hip joints and muscles probably demonstrated rustic pulleys on a pirate ship in stormy seas, as opposed to someone wanting to return to the world of track and field, with the intention of doing well in competition! LOL! Then we moved into some strides where my hamstrings and glutes responded with a “Wait… What?!” yawn, stretch and struggle! They woke up, though – eventually!

Today’s session was a time trial over the 300m, 200m and 100m. Yeah. Only I disappear from the track for a few years and turn up to day one for a session like this! But, guess what? The Winter Wizard is back!
There’s something sadistic about the 300m distance. You can pace a 400m and you can push a 200m but there’s something about the 300m that means you can only tackle it by exerting a lot of pressure and experiencing a lot of pain. On top of that, being rusty meant I didn’t get out as quick as the guys I was running with so, heading into the first bend, I lost a lot of ground but I felt strong. I even kicked into the back straight, holding on about 5m behind the two in front. Then we got to the top of the back straight and, with 50m to go, I thought, “Let me kick again.” My hamstrings, however, were screaming and my glutes had retired to the couch of my pelvic bone like Jabba the Hutt. I pretty much marched on the spot to the finish. With a respectful 41 seconds, though. The excitement of the time and the rush I just experienced, at being back at it, kept me bouncing around, waiting the 7 minutes for the 200m.

As a 400m hurdler, the 200m, regardless of the position you finish in, is very much so an “I’ve got this!” distance. It doesn’t require too much strategy. Focus on getting out the blocks and rely on that quarter-miler strength coming into the home straight. Today, I learned that it just doesn’t happen when you haven’t been on a track in so long. In fact, I felt like I was running backwards for the last 20m, as I came through in 25 seconds! If I hadn’t concentrated on keeping the hips high coming off the bend, I’d probably have just run into the ground, literally! I was ready for the 100m, though.

Every athlete knows what it is like to have heavy legs, where it feels like your feet just fall to the floor as you move into the next stride. However, there is a new level of comedy reached when there is zero generation of power behind produced behind the body. You may as well be running on a treadmill, angled at a decline! I felt ridiculous but did what I could to claw back the front-runners (This just doesn’t happen over 100m, though!), after they all got out like hares from traps. Only, they weren’t being chased down by greyhounds. More like Beethoven, the St. Bernard! LOL! This is the beginning, though…

I’m so happy to be back at it and I’m looking forward to spiking up to race again. I’m not sure when that’ll happen but definitely at some point this year, and probably over the 100m and 200m, with one or two outings over the 400m. Starting from scratch but, as I said, I’m BRIMMING with excitement!