Monday, August 18, 2014

M-Cubed for 8.18.2014

M-Cubed (Monday Morning Musings) for August Eighteenth Two Thousand Fourteen...a random smattering of thoughts that end up here on Monday morning.

- Fair Week! In my neck of the woods, it's all about 4-H clubs, demolition derbies, truck pulls, livestock sales, "carnies," sausage sandwiches, and for me, my annual Amish-style funnel cake. One year several years ago, they tried to start the school year prior to the fair. That didn't go over too well! Two days after the fair ends, school starts. The fair, for us, is one of those timeless things. You can basically time warp back to high school, sans the 80s big hair, acid washed jeans, and pegged up pants. Always a great time!

- Here in just under 4 weeks is the 10th annual YUT-C 50K and 25K. (read: Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic) It's held in Youngstown, OH on the trails of Mill Creek Park that is sandwiched between Youngstown and Boardman. I was actually born in Youngstown and went to school in Boardman through the 5th grade. This past Saturday was the annual familiarization run. We had a handful of runners (pictured here at the Old Log Cabin) show up for the late 9am start and all enjoyed a dry, fun, sunny 11.5 miles on the course. For a few, it was their first time at Mill Creek. If you're looking for a 50K, I encourage you to come on out! The 25K is already sold out.

- Before YUT-C, though, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels are coming to town! In only two weeks, they will be thundering across the Cleveland sky and if someone is dozing off at their downtown desk, they'll be woke up quite often. One cool part of my current gig is being involved with the big weekend over Labor Day. A week from today, in fact, one of the Blue Angels will be flying into town for one more big meeting with the powers-that-be and I'll be there. I drive my white 4-door sedan to work, he flies his Blue Angel. Tough gig!

- In downtown Akron is the Child Guidance and Family Solutions building at the corner of Forge St. and Market. They provide behavioral health treatment to over 4000 adults and 1000 children every year. As a part of their fundraising efforts, they began a "Food Truck Friday" in their parking lot this year that begins at 11am and ends at 1:30pm. This year's "season" ends on September 12th so you still have a few weeks to make it out. Here was the scene on Friday during my first visit. There is a very wide selection so anyone will find something they like. Head on out and enjoy!

- It is the halfway point of August (or just over, actually) so it's good to check in on the running log. As of last night's humid, thick 80F just-prior-to-sunset-hilly-country-8.2-miler, I stand at just under 123 miles for August. While it "feels" like I haven't been running much, I'm right on track for another 200 or more mile month. Bazinga! Along with last night's run, I got home and while logging my run, I had the pleasant surprise of realizing I racked up running streak day #60! Little landmarks certainly put a grin on my face. Here was a little collage I whipped together post-run. I really like the corn photo at the bottom. That was from the run, too...not a stock photo or a photo from another day. The corn is so prevalent right now that it's aroma fills the air. I love it, actually.
- Happiness. Or Happyness, if you've seen the Will Smith movie. Ever think "If I only lived in "xyz," then I'd be happier or happy, period? I know I have and we have. Heck, it's been a conversation that repeats itself annually in the middle of the harsh winter we seem to always get here in NE Ohio. Lately, though, I have come to accept and believe that while living in other parts of the country sounds very appealing (and may very well be), that in itself will not make me happy or assure me of such joy that I should pack it all up, including my family, and head on down, over, or up there. Strip everything away and what truly matters is __________. (fill in the blank) What is it for you? Empty your house, lose your job, send the majority of your friends away...and what matters? For me, it's my bride and the fun, joyful times we spend together. It may be laughing, snuggling, going on a walk, or just watching a movie together on the couch. I say all of this because it's important to ground ourselves often when we get so wrapped up in the day to day grind of life. As our schedules fill or remain full, how are we/you allocating time to what matters most? That answer should reset your life and schedule if you're truly honest with yourself. Anyway, those are some deep thoughts for you as you begin this week.

- Speaking of quality time, this past Saturday was an event dubbed "Rootsfest" at the local winery in my hometown. If you would've told me there would be a winery in my little country hometown even 10 years ago, I would've never believed it. Turns out, it's one of our favorites and a few times a year, I'll run by their vineyard and run through the rows of vines. At the event, it was filled with local craft artisans, live music, and vino! After a morning for me on the trails, we sectioned off some early evening time alone and headed on over to Barrel Run Crossing Winery and Vineyard. It was so perfect. After checking out the vendors, we ordered up a great meat, cheese and cracker plate and enjoyed our favorite bottle of Mahoning River Red. We are fans of sweet to semi-sweet reds so this hit the spot. The music was great, too, as was my "company." We have a tradition, you see. Instead of just "drinking," we savor each sip via toast. No toast, no sip. Some days, we'll have a theme like "something we're thankful for." If you want to really encourage quality communication and hear each other's heart on a variety of things, get away with him or her and do this. Take your time. It simply ranks so high up there for "quality time" with my bride, I can't quite give it the praise it's due. Below are two of our spread and the other, of vines right next to our car where we parked (in the vineyard.) I had never actually seen bunches of grapes ON the vine IN a vineyard before! So awesome!

- As I wrap up this week's M-Cubed, I'd like to share this quote. While it does appear "running centric" at first, it applies to so many things we all do in life, regardless of the subject matter. A life of comparison can be a wrecking ball to your motivation and purpose for anything. Be YOU. Don't compare. Set goals. Achieve. For you...not them.

"Don't compare yourself with anyone else. The world is full of runners, so you'll probably see one every time you circle the block or your favorite park. Some will be thinner than you, some smoother-striding, some faster. But don't let this get you down. There's only one runner who really counts: you. Running is your activity. Make it work for you, and don't worry about anyone else."

-Amby Burfoot, Runner's World Complete Book of Beginning Running

Have a great week, everyone! Time to run! :)

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