All Posts By

John Bingham

All posts by John Bingham

A Change of Course

By | John "the Penguin" Bingham, Motivation, Penguin, The Penguin Archives, The Penguin Chronicles | One Comment

Sometimes we need to rethink what it means to succeed. Sometimes you meet a person and you just know that he or she has a life lesson to share. That’s what happened when I met Mike in March. We and about 80 other runners were aboard the Ocean Nova, bound for Antarctica where we would run the Antarctica Marathon or Half-Marathon. At first glance, there was nothing remarkable about Mike. He seemed to be just another middle-aged man, carrying a few extra pounds, whose glory days as a runner were back in the nylon shorts era. As often happens when…

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Summer Vacation

By | Bingham, Personal, The Penguin Archives, The Penguin Chronicles | One Comment

Growing up in the 1950s did have some advantages. No, we didn’t have color TV, let alone cable. We didn’t have Playstations or Game Cubes. We didn’t have MP3 players, iPods or cell phones. But one thing we did have was summer vacations. Long, lazy days filled with hope and promise unencumbered by adult organization. Whatever fun we were going to have would have to come from our own imaginations. There were no alarm clocks on those long summer days. The day started when some friend stood outside your house and called your name. The closest you came to planning…

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Setting the Sail

By | Personal, The Penguin Archives, The Penguin Chronicles | No Comments

As runners, we need to cut ourselves some slack to ensure smooth sailing. I’m sure there are times when the magic of being pushed across the water by the power of the wind is exhilarating. But every time I’ve tried to captain a sailboat, the wind has nearly pushed me into the rocks. Clearly, I’m not much of a sailor. My problems have to do with leeway, or, more precisely, the lack of leeway. You see, a sailboat has two sides: the windward side, which faces the wind, and the leeward side, which is away from the wind. A sailboat…

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Come Together

By | Bingham, John "the Penguin" Bingham, Personal, The Penguin Archives, The Penguin Chronicles | No Comments

You might be surprised what Nietzsche and your running buddies have in common. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche really got a bad rap. Either that or he needed a better publicist. There was that whole “God is dead” business that upset so many people and then there’s the “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” quote that’s attributed to him. I actually read one of my favorite Nietzsche quotes in an Outward Bound handbook. In writing about mountain climbing, our boy Friedrich says, “Exhaustion is the shortest way to equality…” I’ve never climbed a mountain so I can’t attest…

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White Line Fever

By | Bingham, John "the Penguin" Bingham, Motorcycling, The Penguin Archives, The Penguin Chronicles | No Comments

Believe it or not, the human machine can equal the power of a Harley. Until I discovered running, I had only two passions in life: music and motorcycles. Each fueled the other, and employment in one usually meant greater opportunities to pursue the other. For many years, this combination was perfect – I worked long enough as a freelance musician to build a financial base, then rode long enough to need the next gig. Maintaining the balance between time and money was tricky, but with care and a willingness to consume nothing more than peanut butter and beer, it was…

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My Way or the Highway

By | Personal, The Penguin Archives, The Penguin Chronicles | No Comments

Sometimes it pays to ask for directions. My wife, Jenny, recently gave me a GPS navigation unit – not the kind you run with but the kind for your car. Plug in your destination, and the GPS calculates directions. Mine had a name (Jack) and a voice that talks you through the directions. I was so excited to go on my first test-drive with Jack. I punched in my destination – my son’s house – and eagerly waited for Jack to figure out how to get there. Of course, I knew the way. I simply wanted to have some fun…

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Summer Vacations

By | John "the Penguin" Bingham, Personal, The Penguin Archives, The Penguin Chronicles | No Comments

Growing up in the 1950s did have some advantages. No, we didn’t have color TV, let alone cable. We didnt have Playstations or Game Cubes. We didn’t have MP3 players, iPods or cell phones. But one thing we did have was summer vacations. Long, lazy days filled with hope and promise unencumbered by adult organization. Whatever fun we were going to have would have to come from our own imaginations. There were no alarm clocks on those long summer days. The day started when some friend stood outside your house and called your name. The closest you came to planning…

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The Competitive Edge

By | Bingham, John "the Penguin" Bingham, Personal, The Penguin Archives, The Penguin Chronicles | No Comments

You just don’t realize how competitive you are, until you meet someone who’s slower. There we were. Two middle-aged men in a Firebird on a summer night in southern California. The top was down, the V-8 was rumbling. We were just driving around, minding our own business. There he was. A 20-something young man in some kind of four-cylinder Euro-sport sedan with loud mufflers. He kept racing his engine, waiting for the light to turn green. I looked over at Ken. Without saying a word, we knew what had to be done. When the light changed, I gave the young…

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Tools and Rules

By | The Penguin Archives, The Penguin Chronicles | No Comments

Simple, essential lessons on running maintenance from a place you might not expect: the garage. When I was in my 20s, I spent a number of years working as a professional motorcycle mechanic. I knew just enough to get the job but not nearly enough to do it. One of the first lessons I learned from Stuart, a crusty older mechanic, was that there are a few immutable principles: (1) if it can be lubricated, it needs to be lubricated; (2) if it can be adjusted, it needs to be adjusted; (3) if it’s worn out, replace it; and (4)…

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Better Than Ever

By | The Penguin Chronicles | One Comment

When all you are is all you can be. One of my favorite books is a little tome by Jess Laire entitled “I Ain’t Much, Baby, But I’m All I’ve Got” (Doubleday: New York: 1972) I happened to read it at an earlier time in my life – where being what I was, wasn’t all I wanted to be. The shortest synopsis of the book is that you are what you are and you can choose to spend your life frustrated by what you aren’t or learn to be grateful for what you are. In those days, my goal was…

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