Why Not Be Awesome?

This morning an interesting question was put to me at the gym: “You think that jacket makes you awesome?” The jacket in question; my 2015 Boston Marathon jacket. I considered a bunch of different answers, but in the interest of immediacy, I just went with, “Yeah,” as I headed for the door.

Now, maybe the person asking has several reasons to be awesome himself, but just chose not to wear it this morning. Maybe his car is emblazoned with bumper stickers declaring his membership in country clubs, his awesome grandkids, his service to his country, or his political persuasion, etc. Or maybe his Facebook profile is thick with “Likes” of all sorts of favorite movies, albums, stores, cars, and whatnot. In all likelihood, we can bet he’s got something, somewhere that he shows off on a regular basis.Tom in a whitewater kayak

And why not?

There’s something wrong with a culture that suppresses declarations of awesomeness. If I choose to be awesome, and you choose to be awesome in a different way, why the heck would we begrudge each other the chance to show it off?

Is it our American-ness that causes this? Or is it a global human trait? In this country at least, we’ve been on a depressing lowest-common-denominator cultural spiral for a long time. I mean, let’s face it; our culture has become like a Ford Taurus. Nothing special, does the job, doesn’t cost too much, doesn’t attract attention, or rock the boat.

(I mean, seriously, who thinks America produces a true luxury car?)

We don’t celebrate anything unless we can profit from it. We don’t create anything without a profit motive. We watch television shows about people jumping off rooftops (again, with a profit motive), or cunning political machinations, celebrities getting ‘fired’, entrepreneurs sniveling before loudmouthed capitalists, and even a long-running cable series about guys who write television ads. We don’t sneeze unless we can show a positive P&L.

Here in Boston, you see that with the negative reaction to the proposal for the 2024 Olympics. Remember when we used to celebrate the fact that athletes from every country competed on the field in a metaphorical pursuit of global peace? Remember when we launched fireworks and light shows just because? Now if it doesn’t sell enough Coke, iPhones and Adidas gear, the pencil pusher in all of us runs a spreadsheet to see if the margins are worth it.

We’ve become a nation of boring, no-fun, uninteresting, joyless people with no time to celebrate and no tolerance for those who do. We’re only focused on the financial payoff. “Money makes the world go ‘round.” “Greed… is good.” “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” It’s like the 1980s never ended. There’s plenty of wealth, but we’re impoverished in every other aspect of life.

Balance sheets and negativity should be left at the workplace. Wherever your awesomeness comes from, I say wear it, declare it, & share it. I guarantee it won’t be from something where you ran a financial projection before you started.

A Conversation During the Providence Marathon

A conversation with myself at the Providence Marathon | MyLeftOne Blog

That’s how I taper

Okay, here we go…

There was no starting gun, because that’s starting to seem a bit weird, after the moment of silence. Instead, somebody blew a horn.

I last ate two hours ago at a Providence Dunks. Bagel. Whole grain. No spread. Been guzzling electrolytes like a- do fish drink electrolytes? It is way too soon for these thoughts.

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4:38:03

Tom Bishop after running the 2012 Boston MarathonSo… the 2012 Boston Marathon was epic. I heard that more than 4,000 runners took the BAA up on their offer to defer until next year. These are probably fast runners who wanted to go for PRs (personal records). Smart folks. Another 2,000 or so did require medical help of some kind, and they included elite and expert runners.

The BAA warning before the race was pointed: If you had never run a marathon or had not run in these conditions, they recommended you bag. I realized if I ran in the 88 degree heat, next time that warning wouldn’t mean me!

So the moral of my story: I got greedy.

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Ready

The Boston Marathon 2012 is here and Tom Bishop is Ready10K. 42Min.

To many people, that means nothing. It looks like some kind of running stat, like that annoying cousin, the triathlete or something, is always talking about. Normal people talk about Final Fours, Yards per carry, and RBIs. You can stuff your 42 minute 10Ks.

Real runners don’t care much for numbers like that either. They run a 5-minute mile, not a pokey 8. A 42 minute 10K is the mark of a piker.

Well, this piker is pretty darn proud of the number. I turned it in this morning, one week before my first Boston Marathon. I’m in ‘taper’ mode, which means I’m not supposed to be running very much during the 2 to 3 weeks before race day. After 5 months of training at distances of more than 20 miles, the heart, lungs, legs, stomach and mind are ready.

Well, I’m ready.

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And What Have We Learned, Hmm?

Tom Bishop Training for the 2012 Boston MarathonThe Boston Marathon is less than five weeks away.

Normally that wouldn’t bother me at all, but this year is a little different. This time I’m supposed to run in it.

It’s 26 miles. 26.2 actually, as any marathoner will probably point out. I’ve run 5 miles. Even 10. But that’s always been my limit. I don’t think it was physical as much as mental. Running 10 miles takes an hour and a half. That could be a movie. Instead, I’ve chosen to spend that time pounding my legs into pavement listening to an iPhone shuffle playlist that is short enough to call up Barry Manilow twice.

Barry Manilow. Twice.

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The Tom Bishop Fan Club – Yes, I’m Serious!

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The Tom Bishop Fan Club on FacebookIf you really, and I mean really have nothing better to do today, please join The Tom Bishop Fan Club on Facebook! I share stuff about hiking with the kids, running, and other things I am doing. You can post stuff there too.

Plus, sign up for the MyLeftOne Newsletter! It’s the new home of fun!

Why Run?

Training for Team Playworks Run for Recess in the Boston Marathon 2012I remember exactly when I began running. It was March 2005. The days were getting longer, and it was just a few weeks before we set the clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time. I decided I was sick of being overweight and I needed to expend some nervous energy.

Why was I nervous? For a few months, I had begun to realize our family business, a hair salon, wasn’t going to make it. After a year and a half, revenues were still rising, but not quite enough to cover costs. The writing was on the wall, so I hit the pavement.

My first run went a quarter mile, down to the corner store. I got to the corner and doubled over in exhaustion. Oh my God, I wondered as I bent staring at the sidewalk, was I just going to be unable to run? Were some people naturally athletic while others, myself included, just naturally… not?

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