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Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Red Bandana: Walk, Absorb, Click

Trees in the afternoon.
read also: Are You Running the Chicago Marathon?

As autumn comes, take time to absorb the colors. Go beyond mere looking at the quad-colored leaves, the orange-purple sunsets and the delicious harvest moon. Absorb it all. Breathe deeply the brisk air, tasting the scent of evening BBQs, cut grass and apples that stayed behind after picking.

If you are walking, bring a camera. I usually have my cell phone with me, and snap pictures daily. Beauty happens everywhere. Some of it is in unpredictable but ordinary places, like the symmetry of fence posts protected by red-wing blackbirds or two smiling children reflected in the water as they stare down at fish in Herrick Lake.

Or, after a long run, while you are doing a recovery walk (mine are usually a mile when I have time), click away.

A great place for walking is the Morton Arboretum. If you are looking for pure nature views, be sure to frame your shot carefully to avoid their exhibit, Steelroots abstract root forms in the 22-acre conifer section. What makes interesting art seems misplaced in the otherwise gorgeous manicured, yet natural setting of the Arb. Despair not, faithful walker! There are 16 miles of walking trails, not counting off-trail excursions to examine the fall flowers or a spider that has made his home between two branches.  See their fall color calendar, or check out their Fall Color 5K Run October 3.

Hurrahing in Harvest
What will you see when wandering the woods? Gerard Manley Hopkins, a nineteenth century British poet, mused that it was a wistful time filled with curiosity and celebration. In his poem, “Hurrahing in Harvest”, he wrote:

Summer ends now; now, barbarous in beauty, the stooks arise
Around; up above, what wind-walks! what lovely behaviour
Of silk-sack clouds! has wilder, wilful-wavier
Meal-drift moulded ever and melted across skies?

Need Inspiration?“Rocky” was shown this week on television. You know the music. You know the triumphant run up the stairs at Philadelphia Museum of Art. And you know the final scene in which Rocky calls out, “Yo Adrian!” Before this, remember also Rocky running the lonely streets at dawn, punching slabs of meat in a freezer at meat-packing plant, and doing one-armed push-ups until he was exhausted. To achieve a goal, hard work must take place.

Get the movie. Watch it on a Friday night, and get into action Saturday morning.

Be Careful
The next few months are all about eating. Candy on October 31, Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey and my favorite, Columbus Day grilled chicken. What? You don’t celebrate Columbus Day with a rotisserie herb and butter chicken? I don’t think anyone else does either, but my point remains: this fall and winter are a challenge for those of us looking to drop a few pounds. If you want to arrive in March fitter than September, we will need to skip that third turkey leg, and, in return, hit the trails.

Running Playlist Song of the Week
Gonna Fly Now (Theme from “Rocky”) by Bill Conti
If I need to explain this song, then you have not seen the movie. It came out in 1976, and has been helping people get off the couch for the last 34 years. The lyrics are nice, but it is the music, full of bright brass energy, that has us making a fist, looking to box the shadows while no one is looking. Download this gem into your mp3 player, put on some sweats, and head to the Wheaton College track to run the bleachers.

Trying hard now
it’s so hard now
trying hard now
more running songs

Writer Anthony Trendl loves BBQs, folk music and porches. Recently divorced from his couch, he looks to running as he battles midlife and his mid-section. Find out more at

For more about my running adventures, see A Runner’s Dilemma (workout details, videos and more)

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The Red Bandana: Finding Fitness Through the Joy of Running

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