Rough Days

Not been the easiest week for everyone. Seems like kind of a crazy spring lull between Easter and Memorial Day. Though some things you have to expect around this time in the Midwest. The tingling of an uncomfortable humidity, tornado season, the Royals falling well short of preseason expectations (again), and many many students getting a bit stir crazy as finals approach.

Of course there are larger things to discuss. More of our armed forces were lost in the desert of the Middle East and sometimes it hits closer to home. Despite your feelings towards one political party or another, we can all agree that there are truly some extraordinary individuals who have put forward their lives in service to the country that deserve to be honored. So say “Thanks!” to an Armed Forces member next time you see one.

Also on the international front, scary times look to be ahead for our comrades in Europe. One of my favourite news organizations, the BBC, has a really in-depth section on their website concerning the eurozone crisis. Don’t know how much has really been reported stateside because the US is gearing up for what promises to be a rousing election season.* Essentially, there is unrest throughout the eurozone with most of the worry hinging on the current economic situations. In an earlier post about Greece, I wrote about some of the troubles that the eurozone was likely to face. Led by the Germans, Greece was resolved (sort of) and now all of a sudden the pieces begin to fall. Other countries, Spain and Italy have serious problems looming and stronger economies in France and the Netherlands have elections in which potential winners will fight the treaty that was signed recently to reduce all national debt in the eurozone. This means deep budget cuts all around which spells a period of stagnation in the general economy. Going back to the last post about the youth, there is no more disenfranchised youth population than in Europe. They are very well educated and there really are not a lot of jobs open for them right now.** Very uncertain future for the EU. We still need the continent to be strong or else we may look to stand alone against Russia and China in international policy.

*Fun fact: Think about voting in our current representative democratic system. It’s pretty nice right? Better than those oppressive dictatorships that crush the general populace while international powers stand by idly. Now think how important it is to vote. Now think about the population of the United States, everyone’s vote counts exactly the same as the next guy. A political analyst’s vote counts the same as a mathematician’s. A convicted felon’s vote counts as much as the busboy working the midnight shift at IHOP. Your vote counts exactly the same as that pretentious hipster walking a fixed gear bike up a tall hill while wearing a sweater and a striped wool beanie which is complimented by large plastic fake glasses and a $7 cup of organic coffee supposedly shipped from a third world country where it was lovingly produced by farmers who have no fingers or something in 90 degree heat with 70% humidity in the middle of the summer. Just something to think about.

**Reuters article about the situation in France. In short, ready to burst. Young, French, and desperate.

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Times like this you have to try and fall back on stress relievers. It could be something simple (and delicious) like chocolate, putting in a couple of miles on the treadmill*, perhaps an adult beverage or three, or maybe chatting up an old friend. At work, I have a fancy “Dismember Me Zombie” which does help around times like these, just to pop off a couple of limbs actually does wonders to calm the spirit.

I also like to watch old movies in the background. It is very comforting. As a side note, one of my all time favourite movies, Casablanca has a one-night-only movie screening at participating theaters TONIGHT April 26. If you’re looking for something to do tonight, you could do a heck of a lot worse than see this terrific film once more on the big screen. Fathom Events

*Fun fact 2: Treadmills, while useful for harnessing energy from both humans and animals, were also used as torture devices and as a popular facet of hard labour camps.

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I promised a recap of the Rock the Parkway race. Pictures (Courtesy of Action Sports International) Ran an appropriate 1:58. I say appropriate because my preparation should have been better but I’m glad I still snuck in under 2 hours. It is my slowest recorded half-mara (out of three) but it shows I still have some space to improve. I have one more half-mara scheduled this season in the beginning of June, the infamous Hospital Hill Run, highly recognized as the “Grandfather of Kansas City Road Races”.  My strategy to use music and a pacer to bump a couple of minutes off my time failed miserably as I never had the opportunity to stick with the intended pace group (or a series of subsequent pacers). I’m a fast starter when I run which means I tend to burn a lot of unnecessary energy towards the beginnings of runs but I’ve been trying to calm the pace a bit as I did during last fall’s KC Marathon. Maybe laid back a little too much this race, but again, it was a great time, beautiful course and they did a really good job with sponsors and food in the event area at the end.

Trolley Run this coming weekend for me. This super popular 4 mile run-walk will feature something around 11,000 participants. Instead of splitting up by age, the waves for this race are set up by general finishing time to reduce congestion and general danger for all runners involved. Last year I was in “Yellow” wave meant for slower runners and partial joggers with the Pure Fishing folks. This year however, since I ran a sub-30 minute race, I qualified for “Blue” wave. Technically I had a good enough time for the top wave (Red) but that seems too legit-sies for me right now. Those people are really fast. Found out today I won’t have to use this race to qualify for a Corporate Challenge 5K Race spot so that takes some pressure off. Wish me luck!

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