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The Penguin Archives

Category Archives: The Penguin Archives

The Art of Play

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Those of us growing up in the 1950s had one big advantage over today’s kids. No, we didn’t have PlayStation or GameCube. There were no MP3 players, no iPods, no cell phones. No cable – we didn’t even have color TV. But we did have summer vacations. Not the overprogrammed kind, but long, lazy days filled with hope and promise unencumbered by adult organization. Whatever fun we had came from our own imaginations. The day started when a friend stood outside your house and called your name. The closest you came to planning was looking to see if he had…

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My Day in Boston

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Yes, I was there. Through the most unlikely cosmic hiccup, my name was drawn in the Boston lottery. I ran the 100th not because I possessed the talent, but because I had the audacity to put my name on a postcard. Destiny, it seems, has a sense of humor. Destiny also has a taste for irony and melodrama. I found out that my name had been selected on October 10, two days after the “Fox Cities Marathon”. Two days after my wife and running partner had missed qualifying at Fox Cities, in part because of her concern for my injury….

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Going With the Flow

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Why runners should set their sights on their next steps, instead of where they’ve already been. It’s been said that you can never put your foot in the same river twice. Rivers are alive, flowing, and in constant motion. The river that was there a moment ago is long gone. The same is true for music, art, and movies. We never really hear the same song twice or see the same piece of art twice. What we bring to a second or third or hundredth exposure to a song or a painting is always different than the time before. We…

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Opening Day

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If you live where there are 4 real seasons then you already know that there are 4 absolutely must run days of the year. These are the cut school, skip work, and get a sitter for the kids runs. It’s the run in the cool, gentle rain in the summer, the crisp fall morning, the first winter snow. And if you live in Chicago where winter starts before Halloween, the best of those days is the first day in spring when you get to run in shorts. It’s opening day. As a boy, a group of us cut school and…

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Never Say Never, Again

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It’s not too late to be what you might have been! One of the insidious diseases that strikes at middle age, and trust me at 54 I am solidly into middle age, is one’s memory fading. I’m not talking about a serious medical condition, I’m talking about the blurring of what was with what might have been with what really is.  It’s not so much that the older I get, the better I used to be, but that the older I get, the MORE I think I COULD have been. What I used to think of as merely broken dreams…

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Back to the Future

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“I can see the finish line, and I feel an emotional rush that transforms me from a mere mortal into a mythical creature with winged feet. Well, OK, maybe not winged feet. How about a mythical creature with webbed feet? Forget eagles and sparrows, it’s time to celebrate the power of penguins.” Those words, originally written in May of 1994 on a lap top computer while riding in the back seat of a Dodge Minivan, on the way home from a half-Ironman triathlon, and intended to be seen only by me set in motion changes that no one could have…

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The Popeye Syndrome

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People are always calling me names! I’ve been labeled a Baby Boomer, a Hippie, a Yuppie, Cool, Uncool, With it, and Clueless. I’m also, it turns out, a part of the Television Generation.  It’s true. I spent time every week with Roy and Dale, The Lone Ranger, Pancho and Cisco, and Sky King. I learned about truth, justice, and the American Way from Superman. A guy, who, by the way, ran around in a red and blue leotard wearing a cape. I thought families looked like Ozzie and Harriet and the Cleavers. Well, I thought other families did, because mine…

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Never Say Never, Again

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It’s not too late to be what you might have been One of the insidious diseases that strikes at middle age, and trust me at 54 I am solidly into middle age, is one’s memory fading. I’m not talking about a serious medical condition, I’m talking about the blurring of what was with what might have been with what really is.  It’s not so much that the older I get, the better I used to be, but that the older I get, the MORE I think I COULD have been. What I used to think of as merely broken dreams…

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A Year in the Life

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The Chronicles: December 1999 The late George Sheehan wrote that we are all an experiment of one. Considering how much experimenting I did in my 20’s and 30’s I must have agreed. I doubt, though, that what I was experimenting with would have please Dr. Sheehan. My running has been experimental, that’s for sure. Most of the time I’ve acted like a mad scientist mixing a potion in his basement laboratory. I tried new shoes, or a new training program, or a new diet and then stood back and hoped the results didn’t blow up in my face.   But…

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When to Say When

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It isn’t always easy being a runner. It isn’t always easy being the Penguin. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to be both and to be true to either. One of the canons of the Penguin philosophy is that running – all running – is joyful in its own right. It’s the act of running, being in the moment of the motion, that brings satisfaction. And it’s the process that matters most, not the outcome. But some runners wrongly think that this focus on participation rather than competition means that performance doesn’t matter. Folks who routinely finish races before I reach halfway…

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