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Category Archives: Personal

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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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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Waddle on, friends: The first Penguin Chronicle

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John Lennon may have been the Walrus, but I am the Penguin. Looking up, I see the finish banner and clock. I pick up the pace, releasing the energy I’ve been saving for the final kick. I am gasping for air; my heart is pounding. I am going to have a PR. I am going to break 30 minutes for 5-K. What? John Lennon may have been the Walrus, but I am the Penguin. I am the runner you’ve seen whose legs look as if they are tied together at the knees. I am the runner whose stride is the same…

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The Inner Penguin

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The Inner Penguin I’m a 90’s guy. Or at least I was. That all seems so… “20th Century” now. I’m not ready to call myself a “zero” guy, but I’ll bet there are others that might. I’m in touch with my feminine side, I know all about male bounding, and I am way too in touch with my inner child.  But, I am just beginning to learn how to be in touch with my inner Penguin. I didn’t even know that there WAS an inner penguin at first. I thought that being a penguin was about being satisfied with what…

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Running on the Wrong Side of the Tracks

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I’ve run over 40 marathons, so I’m not a rookie. I’ve read most of the training programs out there. I know the names of all the workouts. I know about building mileage and tapering and having a race strategy. But no one ever mentioned what to do if you’re stopped by a train during a marathon. Here’s the scene: Portland, Oregon on as pretty a day for running a marathon as you can imagine. Crisp air, blue skies and plenty of sunshine. I’m leading a group of runners who want to finish somewhere between five hours and anytime on Sunday….

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Happy Trails

By | Personal, The Penguin Archives | No Comments

Venturing off-road leads to simple yet profound discoveries. I’ve never been much of a trail runner. Okay, I’ve never been much of a road runner either, but that’s not the point. As one whose feet never get more than an inch off the ground, I worry about bumps in the sidewalk. So it’s hard to imagine encountering branches, roots and rocks. But I finally gave in. With all the hoopla about the pleasures of trail running, I thought I should at least see what the fuss was about. And to my surprise, I discovered a fun, new running environment. It…

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