With the weather warming up here in Illinois and a three-day weekend ahead of us, my wife and I planned out a bit of cycling and running. It actually started on Friday afternoon with a 55-mile ride in windy conditions. We both rode our tri-bikes in aero, and toward the middle of the ride I felt great and she was supposed to stay in Zone 2 for the entirety, so I asked if she’d mind that I went ahead.
“Go for it honey,” she smiled.
So off I went. The ride wound up being just above 18mph in pretty stiff conditions so that was a happy day. She noted my exuberance to her coach Steve Brandes and he texted back, “You need to give him some little wins now and then.”
I love that kind of humor. Because it’s true. We all do need little wins of one kind or another. The next day I went to the track and did a set of eight 400-meter repeats at 7:14 pace. That’s a major hurrah in my book of late. My running sagged so badly last year due to a string of injuries and one major health problem with an infected tooth that I didn’t think quality would ever come back.
The next morning I rode another 36 miles on my own, again with some stiff winds blowing me about, and took a tour through the little town of Big Rock way down at the southwest tip of our county.
Next time I’ll be heading even further west, out to Plano where one of the Superman movies was filmed. That’s also near Yorkville, Silver Springs State Park and the famous Farnsworth House where I have tried on two occasions to lead some bird walks but they kept getting rained out. At any rate, that led to my producing a poster of the Birds of the Fox that turned out pretty well. It’s pretty territory out there.
That’s what I do this time of year. Alternate between birding, biking and running
Come Sunday it was time for a run with Sue. We queued up by the Fox River in North Aurora where the parking lot was full. The trails were busy too. Some people wore marks and others did not. It was hot and humid, and I cannot imagine trying to wear a mask to run in conditions that thick. So we didn’t. I just made sure to give everyone plenty of space.
And I ran ten miles, which is a big notch for me, as my weak hips and sitting in a desk chair all day have kept my longer runs to seven miles. But I decided to stretch my luck and wound up doing 9:03 pace for ten. Which isn’t bad on a hot Sunday morning with two decent bike rides in my legs already.
Then we rode again Monday morning, this time a slow 36 miles together on tri-bikes, wisely choosing to go mostly East and West to avoid having to grind into a solid 20mph southern breeze.
Monday afternoon we both took short naps with the air conditioning on. I spent a couple hours watching a documentary show about the origins of World War II, how it all got started and how those fascists in Europe came into power. It all sounded really familiar with labor strikes and recessions, speculative investing, the Roaring 20s and the stock market crash fueling a worldwide upheaval while Japan and Germany each eyed expanded territories to feed and fuel their societies. Economic upheavals drove countries mad while authoritarian leaders clawed their way into power. Mussolini cartoonishly took over Italy and turned his sights on Africa while Spain fell under the spell of fascist rule as well.
It wasn’t that long ago, and yet the film was all colorized footage in a speciall called “The World War II in Color. Recently I also watch a big portion of the Ken Burns special on the Vietnam War. And in person, I once ran across the field at Gettysburg where Pickett’s Charge took place. So damned many people have died in all the wars fought by Americans. Some of them here. Many of them overseas.
Civil War redux
About that Civil War here on our soil. It’s feeling more like those old Confederate issues have roared to the forefront of society with selfish states acting like they don’t have to play with others and racists claiming their rights are being impinged upon.
And yet the statistic that shocks me is that more Americans have died from gun violence on American soil than all the soldiers killed in foreign wars combined. It always strikes me that we have a day to memorialize the sacrifice of those soldiers yet nothing is done to acknowledge the lives of the innocent sacrificed for the right to claim selfish ownership of lethal weapons in our country. That is the ongoing Civil War in which we’re all engaged. And recently, those gun zealots even took over a state capitol to prove the point they are a militia under no one else’s control. That’s a breach of the Second Amendment, which clearly states, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary for a free state…” And yet we let these priggish morons walk around toting weapons?
Let’s stop tolerating these abuses. They are terrorists in violation of our Constitution.
The carnage created by the twisted version of the Second Amendment we now abide is a direct result of that perversion of law. I think Memorial Day is an incomplete holiday without some mention of that. It was Memorial Day Weekend, and I think about these things while running and riding those miles. When will our country figure out there’s no such thing as freedom when someone can walk into a church, a concert, a store, a college or a mosque and kill dozens of people at will? That’s not freedom. That’s a sickness of mind to think so. Memorial Day celebrates the freedoms earned through sacrifice while ignoring the selfishly vigilante instincts and rabid brand of fear that dominates so much of America.
And the supposed man in charge calls those “good people.” Let’s all remember that for once. And for all.