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The Penguin Chronicles

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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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Miles to Go

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Here is an early Penguin Chronicle that may help to put the whole “Penguin phenomenon” into perspective. As you can tell from the tone of the column, no one was more surprised by how this started than me. From time to time I get insights into how my life is changing – and how running has become the change agent. Those of you who, by nature or by training, are better tuned to your own psyches may scoff at the density of my awareness. Be reminded that I have been no more inclined to be open with myself than I…

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Summer Vacation

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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 Penguin Chronicles – Family Values

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I grew up in an extended family. Of course, I didn’t know it was an extended family. All I knew was that it was my family. A mother, father, brother, grandmother, and grandfather. Sometimes there were aunts, uncles, and cousins, depending on how extended the family was. When you’re a child you don’t know any better. I didn’t. I woke up and everybody was there. I guess I figured that every family had the same cast of characters. The good news about an extended family, especially and multi-generational extended family, is that you’re exposed to lots of different world views…

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Setting the Sail… a Classic Chronicle

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The Lesson of Leeway I’m not much of a sailor. That in and of itself may not surprise you. Sailing, I found out, is – or can be – a very busy endeavor. I suppose there are times when everything goes just right and there’s a magic about being out on the water being pushed by the power of the wind. But for me, everytime I’ve tried to sail, the power of the wind has tried to push me into the rocks. It has to do with lee way. Or more precisely, the lack of lee way. You see, there’s…

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Old dog, Old tricks…

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If we set the WayBack machine to the Spring of 1991 we’ll find an overweight, smoking, over-working, Associate Dean at the Oberlin Conservatory who looks a little bit like “the Penguin.” Bigger, duller, less happy, and weighed down not just by body but also by his spirit. At some point you’ll find Dean Bingham picking up an old Peugeot 10-speed with white-wall tires and shift levers on the down tube. And with that purchase his life, my life, changed forever. When I was a kid I loved to ride my bicycle. LOVED it. I started on a ratty 20-incher with…

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Trophy Sniffers

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Winning isn’t about life and death, it’s much more serious than that.  You’ve got to love age-groupers. You know who they are. These are the runners who know what place they’ll get in a local 5K by just looking at the cars in the parking lot. They know who, in their age group, they can beat every time, who they can never beat, and who might give them a run for their money. They are at every race, in every club, all over the country. I know. I’ve met most of them. You know who they are without even thinking…

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Hearing Voices…

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Penguin Chronicles: January 26, 2016 Hearing Voices The late Dr. George Sheehan was arguably the greatest philosopher on running that ever put a word on paper. His book “Running and Being” was the manifesto of his generation of runners. They believed, as he did, that through running and the galvanizing effect of effort, we can find what it means to experience the oneness of body and mind, of self and the universe. In this, he argues, we have the power to discover “the truth that makes men free.” He was the voice of his generation of runners. He wrote to…

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Back to the Future…

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The first “Penguin Chronicles” wasn’t even called the penguin chronicles. It wasn’t called anything. It was just an email. It was June of 1995, I’d been running for a few years, had been having a lot of fun participating in events, including a couple of duathlons and triathlons, and I’d heard of a group on the internet called “The Dead Runners Society.” In those days The Dead Runners Society was sort of a secret email server group made up mostly of academic and government types who shared their running and racing experiences with each other. Somehow I got invited to…

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