Trumped Up or For Real?

What is going on in American Politics these days? A real estate tycoon, the survivor of multiple bankruptcies, a self congratualting bombast is leading the polls in the Republican Presidential nomination race. Donald Trump a larger than life, self publicising, unapologetic and essential apolitical behemoth is wreaking havoc in the Republican Primaries.

If you thought this Primary might be the usual procession of vote grubbing candidates pushing the limits of a once respectable party further to the right in their efforts to appease an angry, vocal and deliberately uninformed electorate, well, you would be wrong. Trump has tapped into an increasingly frustrated element of the GOP that sees the antics of politicians as little more than self serving, inept and at worst incompetent, Their hero, the dazzlingly coiffured Donald garners all pervasive, saturation TV coverage from the ‘news’ networks who salivate openly at the boost he gives to their ratings.

There is little doubt that politics, Presidential politics in particular, have lurched from the earnest campaigns of yore rooted in a desire to do what is best for the USA, through the plain nasty and deliberately misleading hate advertisments of recent years to the theatrically entertaining nonsense of the past few months. That a man who clearly has a penchent for accruing vast sums of money based on his knack for the ‘deal’, could be viewed by many as a viable Presidential candidate who potentially might lead the most powerful nation on earth is intriguing to say the least. Many of his opponents regard him as ajoke, yet he prevails. While detractors still laugh at the opinionated sound bites he shouts from the rostrum, they are privately realizing that he has the means and the will to stay the course. What then?

Is it possible that ‘The Donald’ really could be the Republican Presidential nominee?? In America all things are possible, that is an essential part of what makes this nation such a draw for immigrants the world over. Of course, immigrants are part of The Donalds concern. For him the tricky business of sifting the good from the bad seems to be an essential part of his message. Who are the murderers and the rapists among this unending wave of talent, fortune seekers and wide eyed opportunists who come to the USA each year? For Mr Trump, the answer is simple. As always!!! Mexicans seem to be the main problem. As ridiculous as this sounds, utterances suggesting that Mexico is shipping its least pleasant citizens to the USA has not damaged Trump one jot in the early polls. Indeed , it may have bolstered his popularity, notable among the angry people who need a target for their ire. They see the USA as a failing nation run by idiots that needs to find its greatness again.

Greatness? What does this mean? Are not all nations great in some way? Surely the notion of the ‘greatest’ nation means little in the international context? Not to the Trumpies. Even though, in one breath, the allure of a booming economy and rising wages is touted as the draw that lures the poor and fortune dreamers to our shores, Trumpies and the Trump in chief particularly say we are a beaten and broken nation. This logical inconsistency doesnt seem to concern his fans……….after all : Wasn’t it high brow intellectuals who sift through the nuance of an issues who led us to this dire state of affairs in the first place? China, Japan, Europe, Russia and all comers are taking the USA to the cleaners in matters of trade, negotiation and much else besides. What we need, he exhaustingly screams, is a man of the moment, a man of action. The Donald in his loud, self engrandising rhetoric is going to ‘fix’ all of this and his supporters love him for it.

What is it that the Trump campaign is appealing to? Well you may ask. I have read recently that trump embodies all that has been cultivated over the past thirty years through Fox news, Republican slogans and campaign rhetoric, the constant chatter and pushing of fake fear inducing messages by media pundits and more recently the Tea Party. We have a cadre of angry Americans who through a combination of wilful ignorance, deliberate misinformation and uninformed outrage have used their sheer willpower and desire to vote to take over both houses in Congress. Add to this the energizing of the evangelical ‘base’ and the conditions have become perfect for a man trading in simple hyperbole to profit in the Republican polls…………….at this early stage at least. While Donald does not use the religious card too strongly the notion of God informing policy is there in the background. The result of all this is a phenomenon that has taken the country by storm and that shows no signs of slowing yet.

How will the left and any sort of opposition respond? Thus far Bernie Sanders embodies the anti establishment reaction from the ‘left’ of the American political spectrum. He is the absolute antithesis of Trump in that he proposes solutions to national issues, as he sees them, in the sort of detail the left is famous for. He is filling massve meeting places with thousands of curious potential voters as well as disaffected Social Democrats who finally perceive someone they can vote for in total faith.

An interesting analysis that is emerging alongside this political phenomenon is the suggestion that other candidates will benefit from what is seen as the inevitable implosion of the Trumpist crusade! Ted Cruz in particular is thought to be one who will garner many of the votes currently attached to Trump when the big man finally bows out of the race. This is a worrying sub plot that might play into the hands of the evangelical Zealot who uses his legal training to twist every word he says to mean what he intends it to mean in that moment in time.

The consequence of all this is that despite the self evident paucity of analytical depth or policy solutions offered by Trumpist Dogma, there is little doubt that Donald Tump must, for the sake of the nation, stay in the race………………….the future of America in a somewaht bizarre fashion might just depend on it. The man who many dub as a clown has started a process that, thankfully, he has the resources to see it through to the bitter end. The prospect of Trump actually running for president is not one I relish, but the alternatives could be even worse.

Interesting times are ahead. Hang on to your hats, it is going to be an entertaining and at times rough ride.

From Paradis to Hell and Back

Article originally published in
If you go to the World of Beer Tuesday night run in Coconut Creek you will see a quiet character in a flat brimmed hat, sporting the tanned hue of a distance runner. He sits studiously focused on his phone. Richard Paradis will have probably run a speedy six or seven miles (having run 11 that morning, of course) prior to sitting down and enjoying a quiet beer or two with his partner, Mimi Reeves and several friends. I consider myself to be fortunate to be among them.
One of the great pleasures of this sport is how those crazy running friends introduce you to others who, over the course of time, reveal themselves as runners and more importantly as people. Richard has led a colorful life wherein he relates tales of being one of the first people to not so successfully book Nirvana for a concert, run a seriously fast marathon or progressively battle the effects of major brain trauma. More of that later.
A somewhat typical life trajectory included, after being brought up in Southington, Connecticut, where he played football and ran track at high school, a stint in the US Army. He was posted to Germany where he completed his first Marathon in a ‘pedestrian’ time of 3:20. He dabbled with the race thereafter but finally laid down a PR when he was 44 years old, 2:49:30 to be precise. Four Boston Marathons, New York and others were completed before he turned his attention to a new challenge, the triathlon. Richard qualified for the 70.3 world championships twice producing a best time of 4:32.
Typically he brings humor into how he describes his early forays in the Ironman. He had been a good runner and when he decided to try the Tri, he knew that he really couldn’t swim. His first attempt at the race nearly ended with a DNF. He was the last out of the water. He sensed the guards really wanted to pull him out and wind things up for that section. Despite this experience he persisted. Although he remains a painfully slow swimmer, it is his riding and running that haul him into a top three age group place in most events he enters.
By his own admission Richard has really been a runner all his life, something his slight, compact frame announces the minute you meet him. This man is clearly a runner. When you talk to him the indomitable spirit of a true competitor leaps out to greet you. He pushes himself constantly and has high expectations, especially these days after a catastrophe that nearly ended his life. Intrigued? Read on………………..
Think. What could be better? Richard was running and riding, he was living in Colorado, enjoying the life of a hard training and successful athlete in a beautiful part of the country. He was also making a living in the music business. His love of great music from the 60’s Brit bands through the American greats to present rock bands is a constant in his life, something we, incidentally, discuss regularly. What could go wrong?
One fateful day this happy circumstance came crashing to a halt. Literally! Richard was knocked off his bike by a motorist thereby plunging him into a series of painfully tumultuous months. He lay in a coma for 40 days, some of it medically induced, as he teetered on the brink of survival. When he awoke he willed himself through another three months in hospital in Colorado and then four more months similarly incarcerated in Omaha, Nebraska. Looking back, Richard observes wryly that the accident saw him take his first ever helicopter ride thus enabling him to check that off the bucket list I guess. Such is the dry humor he uses to reflect on the accident and life in general.
His injuries were severe but he battled back and plunged back into running as quickly as he could. On reflection, he maintains, this was all too fast. While training one cold, icy winter night he slipped and broke his tibia and fibula. Undeterred, he struggled back, he persevered. There was no other way. As he relates: ‘I began running again. Instead of 6-7:00 per mile paces, I was struggling to run 11:00 minute miles. My spirit was crushed but I am not a quitter. I thought that by training for and running The Leadville 100 trail run (elevation between 10,200 and 12,600 feet above sea level), my running ability would return’. Return it did.
Since Leadville where he had to stop at the half way point he has steadily improved. Failing to finish was not the catastrophe some might make it. He quickly realized that this was the farthest he had ever run. He now had a solid base, a new belief from which to move forward. Recovering from brain trauma is never easy, but Richard makes light of the occasional moments where he loses his way or forgets a word. One thing he has not lost is his infectious sense of determination. He has forced himself to run faster. He has run a 3:16 marathon with the promise that he will break three hours soon. He notes: ‘I am beginning to focus on shorter distances and faster leg turnover as part of my effort to run under three hours again’. One look in his eyes confirms the belief that he will do it. I, for one, know that he will.
His partner of several years, Mimi, is also an Ironman competitor. She has encouraged him every step of the way since the injury. She was the reason he moved to Florida. This state has been the cradle of his rebirth as a seriously competitive runner. Considering all he has endured in recent years, his achievements have been impressive to say the least. Strike that……………….for most, it would be impossible to do what he has done.
As a writer and runner I never fail to be amazed by the iron will that some athletes possess as they strive for their goals. I am certain someone, probably a doctor, said Richard would not compete again after the accident. Richard was not listening. Clearly. I know one thing about him, he is one of a kind: a unique runner, a comradical of mine (we share the same political beliefs), a true friend and a fellow lover of great music. He is a man with a kind heart, a quietly enthusiastic Vegan, one who prefers to train alone but who rarely fails to inspire others with his running heart when he engages fellow runners.
Richard, now 50, lives his life by a simple maxim. ‘When your legs get tired, run with your heart’…………..To use a phrase of mine he adores,……………………….’we all know that makes sense’.

Hey Coach! I’m listening!!!!!

Hey Coach! I’m listening!!!!!
Article originally submitted on behalf of NWBRRC to South Florida Running Forum

David Bedford, the great English Olympic distance runner once said ‘Running is a lot like life. Only ten percent of it is exciting. Ninety percent of it is slog and drudge’. How we choose to make the most of that ten percent is, of course, up to us. The ten percent is built on what we do with the other ninety. The ‘slog’ as he poetically called it.
Running well or to a level we aspire to is utterly dependent upon how we prepare. This is true for elite athletes, serious club runners, fitness runners, joggers and occasional runners alike. What we put in determines what we experience in the ‘exciting’ times, in other words, race day.
For years I trained with friends and raced. Results were decent. Then I took serious advice from a friend i ran with regularly who took a more considered approach to the science of running and preparation. Ultimately, I beat him in a 5k with a personal best time, something I thought I would never do. For a while I consistently placed in the top three age group places of races I entered. Structured advice worked for me. Then I ran a marathon.
Regrettably, injury started to take its toll. Results faded. I was struggling until I decided to get more focussed coaching advice. The benefit of coaching lay, I discovered, in the provision of programmed training that enables Master runners, in particular, to avoid injury and enjoy race season more.
NWBRRC, my running club, is fortunate to have two certified coaches, both of whom readily work with club members to help them train sensibly and reach their goals. They are Melissa Hinton and Angela Chambers. They espouse similar philosophies about training which they will happily discuss to determine what is right for members to use. Coaching directs your effort, you learn to understand the body in training and, above, all minimize burn out and injury. Coaches are expert in these matters.
I have learned a particular lesson more than once: Do stupid stuff, and stupid stuff happens. This led me to write a note to Melissa Hinton, my ‘coach’ in one of my now infamous Facebook Saturday posts. While following my latest careful rehabilitation of a long standing knee problem I felt really strong. I was obliged to write: ‘Hey coach. I listened!’. What did I mean? Basically, I previously followed bits of the program she provided, but I also improvised. I increased speed, ran on hard surfaces and, guess what? My knee started to hurt again. Now I follow the program and things are much better. The ‘shout outs’ are now a regular feature in the Saturday post.
Coaches become certified for reasons other than to instill fear in runners or make them sweat and suffer………………………though they do this well. They learn the science of running utilizing bioechanics, physiology, nutrition to individualize programs to help runners stay healthy and run! Often I have thought during a workout set by my coach and freind: ‘Wait till I tell Melissa I hit my targets’ or I muse ‘Mission Accomplished!’. This, of course, is equally balanced by: ‘I hope she doesn’t find out that I ran so quickly today as there will be hell to pay’. Indeed I have even found myself saying to friends, ‘don’t tell Melissa’. They do!! But this is all part of the fun.
One of the things I enjoy about working with a coach is the amiable banter that accompanies it along with the sense of purpose that the program imbues. Additionally, I find myself asking Melissa how to structure an upcoming run to deal with a ‘niggle’ or new circumstance. Coaches are flexible as long as you, the runner, isn’t irresponsibly flexible. That will elicit the response of ‘I told you so. Didn’t I? You NEVER want to hear that!
Being coached makes me feel good. I can be mischievous at times, but now I know I am running a workout for a reason. My latest rehab program has been followed to the letter. When I had a set back, Melissa came up with a solution that went against what I wanted to do………..but, guess what? She was right. Damn her eyes as Shakespeare might have said! The result? I am back on track and feeling strong again.
So, my advice is to get one. Master runners, in particular, will benefit from sound, scientific and personally tailored advice. In the midst of all the work and purpose you can have fun too. I now love to shout out to Melissa……………………….’I’m listening’.
She, of course, knows only too well that this really makes sense!!!!

Tall Tales and Toil……………………………The Egalitarians Have Landed

Tall Tales and Toil……………………………The Egalitarians Have Landed

Running is in many respects attritional. Both positive and negative aspects of attrition exist.
Each run represents, well planned or otherwise, one of many drops in the cup that, when full, equates to the final ‘you’ at a point in time. The ‘you’ that has prepared over long often arduous months to be ready for the race. Ready for the starters gun!
Attrition can, therefore, be inspiring as we chip away at the edifice of fitness to hone the body and build endurance needed to tackle the miles that lay ahead of us in competition.
The sense of attrition is, for many of course, further represented by the toll exacted on limbs, joints, muscles and minds as miles accrue. The pursuit of the better ‘you’ becomes a consuming yet joyful obsession that dominates conversations, decorates social media and places untold pressures on relationships.
As we edge closer to our goals we are imperceptibly damaged. Each passing day witnesses a minute step in bodily attrition that brings forth the specter of………………………the dreaded injury.
Yet the question remains: Why?
In truth, the joy of running is tempered as much by the thought that we will be one of the lucky ones who avoid injury as it is by the glorious highs felt when we run. This tension between success and potential destruction courses a rich vein through the running consciousness. The evidence is there for all to see and hear as training, racing and pain all vie for their place in our recollections and ambitions.
Does any of this explain or suggest a viable rationale as to why so many of us endure this sport? We cannot, for example, all be winners and yet perversely, many, if not all, are winners. Winning is as much about placing in a race and receiving due accolade as it is about just finishing or beating a previous best time. This then illustrates an essential ‘beauty’ of this most egalitarian of sports. The fact that we all win, we toil together in common pursuit of the same glory. The glory of the run.
Glory is found in all the faces that finish a race. It is found in the stories that flow from the toil. Each has its value and its merits. This is why runners, elite right down to the most casual jogger, will listen to tales of perspiration, preparation and personal vindication. Eagerly, ears and eyes inform minds in search of detail that may prompt another day or better race, all of which is shared in good time with more willing friends.
In these days of divided politics, belligerent dogma and ever darker news it is gratifying to know that humanity still has rays of hope warming our hearts like running. When a race starts or a club run sets off we set aside for a few precious hours all of our differences and run!!
Indeed. The egalitarians have landed.
It makes perfect sense now


Having the Time of His Life

by: Mark Darley
Originally published in RUN South Florida – June 2015

Timing is everything !

Timing is everything !

Many of us dream of the day when we can say we truly love what we do. Alan Harding is one of those people. A veteran of the South Florida running circuit, this former workers compensation attorney gave up his occupation to become the owner of Accuchip, one of the leading companies that time local races. What started out as a hobby has grown in 11 years from covering 5 races a year to 130 events of varying length. Over those years first his wife, Susan, and now his two sons have joined to manage and provide the growing business.

What underpins this staggering growth? Talking to Alan, you are immediately struck by the enthusiasm and love for this sport that lies behind his broad, affable smile. His drive has clearly been a major factor. As he says, ‘I get such joy from seeing everyone start and finish, from the fastest elite athlete to the final struggler crossing the line’. For Alan the idea of playing a major part in helping so many people start their day in such a positive fashion is a major contributor to his sense of job satisfaction. He adds, ‘before a race I love trying to predict who the top three male and female finishers will be’. Alan embodies the passion of the sport. From organizing a host of details prior to the race, to the race itself and then the post-race party – he loves it all!

Alan, a self-confessed Air Force Brat, was born in South Carolina although he considers himself to be essentially Floridian as he has lived around the state for the past four decades. In the time leading up to becoming one of the stalwarts of the timing fraternity he was a founding member of what was Coral Springs and Parkland Road Runners Club running 9 marathons, innumerable half marathons and a plethora of other races before giving it all up to start timing races. As he puts it, ‘I always loved the social aspect of running and found I got as much pleasure from timing as I did running’. Recently he started to run again. He even ran a race that his wife timed and he is planning another very soon. He proves the adage, ‘once a runner, always a runner’.

Accuchip like so many success stories had a small beginning. Alan started timing races as a hobby at a point when the race circuit was small but relatively stable. Runners knew what races came around each year and planned their season accordingly. In the last 5 years the number of races has exploded with a consequent demand for timing services. Just keeping up with technology has become one of the greatest challenges and, Alan freely admits, pleasures of the work. No longer do we struggle with awkward ankle tags, frightening written directions or shoe lace chips. The list of advances grows almost daily……………………..including live to web links, mobile links, SMS texting, integrated social media and ever more complex ways of presenting race times, splits and finishing positions to a demanding public.

There is no doubt that timing of races has become critically important to all entrants. This is evidenced by the sweaty throng that surrounds the printed results boards after races. If things don’t go well the frustration among competitors grows which leads Alan to observe that it is critical to have ‘protocols to minimize bad occurrences’. If you don’t he says, ‘The quicksand starts to deepen’. Fortunately such things are rare and Accuchip enjoys a solid reputation for getting races started enabling all runners to go home knowing how they did and where they placed. This allows all and sundry to post on FaceBook, with the increasingly obligatory picture of the results printout, the outcome of one more ‘’day at the races!

Another important aspect of the business for Alan is the sale and renting of timing systems. He originally bought 5 systems from an Australian supplier and now represents them in the United States after they asked him to sell them here. In addition to selling he trains users, repairs the systems, rents them and supplies tags. Clearly, these days, being a race timer is not simply a matter of holding a stop watch and then firing a starting gun. There is, it seems, never a dull moment.

While interviewing Alan I allowed my mind to drift back to the mid 1970’s when I first ventured onto the track at Burford School in England and won the school 400 Meters championship. As I strained every sinew in the final strait, neck and neck with the head boy of the school who was three years older than me and much bigger, I eventually beat him by the thickness of a running vest. One of the teachers was holding a large silver stop watch, he nervously declared me the winner. I still recall seeing him stop the watch with an angular thumb as I crossed the line. Had Alan been there with his computers I would have had the satisfaction of knowing how many hundredths of a second separated us…………..although Alan would surely suggest I would know to the thousandth of a second now. How times have changed.

The running Community is famous for the way we help one another to do the best we can at races. Examples of how faster athletes give up their race to help others trying to achieve a personal mark are legend. In training we advise and coach because we want to see all of us get as much from running as we can. The same is true of the timing community. Yes! There is one. Although competition exists for the right to time races, Alan notes that all the main timing companies talk to each other and share ideas in much the same way runners do. In a world where there is so little value ascribed to communal effort, running can offer a shining example. Talking to Alan, the distinct impression is formed of a generous man, one who shares his experience gladly and who gets pure pleasure from every second he spends perfecting his craft.

Timing is a precise and increasingly detailed enterprise. It feeds our ever expanding lust for information about every second of our lives. We document and photograph details that once were the stuff of memories shared. Now timing technology gives us proof of our efforts in such profusion that is simply overpowers the mind at times. That said, race timing is an activity that quietly sits behind the scenes and gives us all a modern day ‘memory’ that befits the information age we live in.

Race timing is an indispensable and crucial part of the modern race experience. As long as Alan and his family are in the vanguard of this this precious, prized and almost prescient art, seeing us off and welcoming us back, we can go home with smiles on our faces. Happy with our mornings work and ready to face the day.

I, for one, know that makes sense!!!!

Giving back – Mermaids come in all shapes and sizes !

It was her idea !!!!

It was her idea !!!!

Running is not just about running, or so I am finding out. Having spent most of the past 6 years fretting about my training and getting that PR a new horizon has opened up for me. I call it giving back!
While I have not thrown myself fully into assisting with races in all their aspects, I have found myself helping at water stations in two marathon races recently. I have for six months struggled with a knee injury which has cut my running drastically. The roller coaster of training, getting to a level and then having a setback has been hard to endure. The direct consequence of this has been the desire to help out at races just to experience some of the race day atmosphere I am missing.
I am fortunate to be a close friend of the founder of the Mermaid Club, Helena Redshaw who is a fellow Englishperson. Her encouragement got me to turn out early for the Fort Lauderdale A1A marathon and more recently the Coral Springs Half Marathon. Her club was hosting a water station in each of these races. JUst to add a little spice to the proceedings, Helena decided to make me into a ‘real’ Mermaid. Well, she tried. You can judge for yourself in the pictures.

When in Rome!

When in Rome!

At the A1A marathon, I was happily going about my business setting up water cups when Helena announced, ‘’I’ve got a dress for Mark to Wear. A Mermaid Dress”. What does a guy do? In the blinking of an eye I said, rather hastily, ‘’alright then”. At this point the pink and green Mermaid dress was swiftly pulled from the back of her bright banana yellow VW Beetle and thrust in my direction. There was no shortage of volunteers to assist me to step into the rather contour hugging number.
For me, this was an entirely new experience. Honestly guv!! Having never put on a dress as such, I genuinely needed help in understanding how a dress was donned rather than removed. The coterie of assistants pulled and tugged until the garment was in place. Soon its shiny material was snugly caressing my athletic frame. I was, thereby, utterly transformed. I looked gorgeous. Well, that is what a few oxygen deprived runners at mile six of the race said. Opinions to be trusted if you ask me!!!!
As the race passed our station grateful runners variously burst out laughing, tripped in disbelief, whistled, expressed their love for a man in a dress (I learned a lot about certain runners that day!) or demanded a picture with them. The impact was immediate and in some cases permanent in terms of the damage done to some runners psyches.
Did I enjoy the experience? I would be lying to say no. Sometimes we take ourselves a little too seriously. Opportunities to send ourselves up and promote a good cause which, in this case, was the wonderful Mermaid Club which is so brilliantly organized and run by badass mermaid Helena Redshaw, are rare. I took my chance and had a bloody good time.

Will this thing make me look fat!

Will this thing make me look fat!

There !!! That'll do it !

There !!! That’ll do it !

A few weeks later we repeated the whole thing and I shocked a few weary athletes as they hit the 8 mile mark in the Coral Springs Half Marathon. To be handed a much needed drink by a man dressed as a mermaid I am convinced prompted a few PR performances on this cool windy morning. That is my story, I am sticking to it.
Look out for more, bigger and better outings for the world’s most glamorous mermaid. I am sure Helena has plans for upcoming races. For my part, I just hope my knee injury clears up, but then she will make me run as a mermaid and that is a whole different kettle of fish!!!

I guess she knows it makes sense !!!

Check out the Mermaid Club at

A job well done

A job well done

Time to go get a coffee !

Time to go get a coffee !

The Road Less Travelled

The Road Less Travelled

Ready to run Naples Half marathon

Ready to run Naples Half marathon

As an aspiring blogger it is incumbent on me to write something on a regular basis to see if anyone is actually reading my ramblings as well as providing, one hopes, new copy to maintain interest among my reader! I therefore thank Robert Frost for inspiring the title of this piece because this blog has indeed been a ‘road less travelled’ of late.

A swift perusal will quickly appraise that singular reader of one stark fact…………little has happened here since November 2014. Some, of course, will be eternally grateful others will simply be left wondering. For those falling into the latter category here is the remedy – A new Blog post !!!!

Now. The problem presents as to what the subject of my post should be. Let’s be honest, many things have happened since November – prime among which would be my surviving another year on this marvelous product of evolution – the earth! Having got that out of the way and made my simple case for Evolution as the only theory to explain all of this I can move onto more important matters: Running!

Road Trip

Road Trip

There has been some of the latter, though not as much as I would like. Even a race or two has happened interspersed recently by a nagging recurrence of the dreaded knee injury that announced itself fully about three steps after I crossed the finish line at the Naples Half Marathon. This was a race I had wanted to run for a long time. Years in fact! I even pitched into a road trip with members of my club such was my anticipation of a triumphant return to the half marathon world after an absence of two years. Although I was glad to have finished the race, the pain I felt afterwards caused me to doubt the sagacity of my decision to enter. Until, that is, someone thrust a beer into my hand. A little of the uncertainty melted away as the cold container eased the discomfort of a warm and very humid race day. In that brief moment of entropy I was reminded of the reparative qualities of a cold beer.

With some of Los Muchachos Veloces and Peter

With some of Los Muchachos Veloces and Peter

The beer selfie

The beer selfie

Knees. I have often been heard to lament ‘what are they for”. They sit there at the corner of ones legs, bend when required and make this whole running thing possible in so many ways…………….but do they? Well yes they do when they work properly. Sadly my right knee has not signed up to the notion of being fully compliant with my wishes to run long into the latter stages of my life. The runner’s knee that afflicted me at the end of 2013 and prevented me from running a second marathon has flared up again.

A number of stupid race day mistakes combined to rob me of the PR run I had so earnestly worked for in the weeks previous. Training had gone well, I hit most of the targets a coach friend had designed for me and all was set for a sub 1:40 run. I had not planned for the impact of the road trip. While this was fun it did mean that my race prep was not what I had hoped for. A poor excuse I admit, but an inability to pre nourish as I normally do allied to a truly stupid mistake to run the race in my 5K flats set me on a path I HAD travelled and not the one I wanted. That path was two minutes slower than my goal time with all the attendant disappointment.

Having set the scene I am reminded that a note of caution is required here. Why was I disappointed? I had still run a decent time for a first half in two years. It was warm and humid and my knee was not 100%. All in all not a bad outcome one might think. This,therefore, begs the question as to why we run. The reasons are many and varied. Fitness, camaraderie, the challenge and discipline all rank highly in the pantheon of reasoning that causes us to rise early in Florida to train in the equivalent of an outdoor Sauna. One reason has not been mentioned. Racing. Most of us like to race. We like the feeling of knowing we have just done this as quickly as ever or at the very least in our senior running careers.

Now, as I slowly recover from the latest knee mutiny I am left to consider what I have to do to ensure I can continue to run while continuing to enjoy one of the greatest physical pastimes a human can engage in. The reality is such that I have to treat the knee with respect. Recovery is a gradual process where caution is the ruling principle for progress. I know I can run sub 7 minute miles up to 10K if trained. I know I can break 1:40 in a half marathon if training goes well. This said I, in particular, need the weather to be cool and all other factors in my favor if I am to hit my intended goals. This then begs the question of where the fun fits in.

I truly enjoy my Saturday long runs with Northwest Broward Road Runners, my club, and the post exertion socializing at a local coffee venue. Since being hurt I have missed a month of these runs. I am getting withdrawal symptoms. That said, Caution has dictated that I navigate a road less travelled and make small steps back to some sort of fitness. The temptation to enter a race is there, but good sense (usually heard in the less than approving comments of my coaching friend Melissa Hinton) dictates that I start with run/walk exercises after which I can graduate to small runs at a somewhat sedate pace by my standards. I also regulary stretch and attend to the balance in my leg. This includes working on the quads and the hamstrings. In all honest it does seem to be helping.

On the road now travelled I had the good fortune to meet Richard Paradis - a story waiting to be written

On the road now travelled I had the good fortune to meet Richard Paradis – a story waiting to be written

I did cheat a few days back and run 4 miles with one of the miles at under 8 minutes but two days later the knee was stiff and a little swollen. Remedial action meant that I was not set back too far, but a lesson was learned – as if I needed such a thing. This is the dilemma. Tempering our inate desire to run and run fast because we feel good at that moment has to be set against the speed with which the body heals as we age. I am 56 and this body has a lot of miles on the ‘road’ clock and it does not recover as it once did.

Coach Melissa reminds me of this and I am likely to have to give her a nickname, the ‘Inculcator’, because only through repetition of simple principles will she get me to understand the need to recover properly and therefore extend my running life

To not listen will lead to an eventuality I had not considered and to ply a road less travelled and definitely unwanted, that of not running at all.

Slowly but surely I am running with friends again

Slowly but surely I am running with friends again

That is not an option

Thanks Melissa

I know it makes sense !

Honestly !

Roger Waters: Echoes’ of Innovation

Is there anybody in there?

Is there anybody in there?


Progressive rock is broadly thought to trace its origins back to the late Sixties and early Seventies. Without question Pink Floyd, led ultimately by Roger Waters and David Gilmour, became key standard bearers for the genre culminating in the recording of their seminal albums ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’.

The roots of ‘Prog’ as it became known can be traced as far back as the release of ‘Meddle’ in 1971 as well as the early work of King Crimson, Genesis and Yes. Meddle, a seminal work in the eyes of many, saw Pink Floyd break into new areas of expression contributing to what was to become, for a few heady years, the dominant musical form in rock.

The evolution of progressive rock saw a more challenging form of experimentation replace psychedelia as the vanguard of art in rock music led as it was by a procession of truly gifted often classically trained musicians. Thus ‘Prog” began to take shape and become what we fondly recall today. Heady and occasionally confused concepts, characters and increasingly long album releases accompanied by ever more extreme cover art characterized Prog’s output up to 1977. Having said this, for those that wanted to be challenged both intellectually and musically this upstart child of the rock revolution fitted the bill perfectly.

Much debate has ensued in recent years as to what progressive rock was or ultimately became. To the purist it is an oddly eccentric style that features complex and lush keyboards complimented by technically demanding and emotional guitar work gathered up in expositions of lofty, sometimes quasi philosophical and political lyrics or story telling. It is also worth noting that bass guitar invariably took a prominent position in the early masterworks exemplified by the work of great players such as Greg Lake, John Wetton, Chris Squire and Mike Rutherford. Each played a major part in redefining how the bass was used in rock music.

Strangely Roger Waters has invariably, even by his own admission, not been included in the ranks of the great bass players in progressive rock. This is a hard assertion to substantiate when his work from ‘Meddle’ onwards is listened to closely. It becomes self evident on closer analysis, notably when listening on state of the art audiophile equipment, just how his economic and beautifully placed bass playing is judged, often to perfection, in the music of Pink Floyd. There never seems to be a note out of place and the phrasing, though often understated, is wonderfully conceived. Was this style deliberate? On considering how Water’s has approached every other aspect of his musical output, it is hard to think that it was anything but deliberate.

The documentary about the making of ‘Dark side of The Moon’ inevitably paid a great deal of attention, understandably, to the sublime and eternally memorable guitar work of David Gilmour. But hold a while ! The bass playing stands out in its own right. It adds something very special to the final work. Recent remixes of DSOM and WYWH have shown that to be especially true. The bass playing stands out prominently in all its immense and enjoyable glory. It forms a carefully crafted foundation upon which the rest of the band wove its timeless songs that defined a generation.

Progressive rock established itself as a globally significant musical force as the seventies advanced though it lost its way with the advent of punk in the late seventies. Punk music questioned grandiose, technically accomplished music and sought to replace it with more direct musical expression that eschewed technical ability for pure raw passion and, it seemed, anger. For many years even the most devoted progressive music fan was hard pressed to find new bands willing to be standard bearers for the music they loved. Progressive rock was almost destroyed by the simple and direct assault of Punk ! Almost !!! A few seeds remained that began to germinate in the late 1990’s.

In the past five to ten years the situation has changed with a host of new bands emerging that loosely fall under the banner of Progressive Rock thus reviving the genre and spreading its influence throughout the world. What had been a strangely English phenomenon for much of its history was taking root notably in Scandinavia and the former Eastern European countries as well as the USA to a smaller degree.

From diverse corners of the world bands have lovingly labored to produce a diverse catalogue with, it seems, something for just about everyone. The term ‘Prog’ has become a catch all casting doubt on what it means in today’s world. Descriptors such as Progressive metal, Symphonic Prog, Folk Prog and the Canterbury Sound vie with obviously main stream progressive music that clearly owes its existence to the great originators King Crimson, Yes, Genesis with Peter Gabriel, ELP, Camel, Van Der Graaf Generator and of course Pink Floyd.

The Waters Legacy

The Wall in all its glory !!!!!!

The Wall in all its glory !!!!!!

Leaving this often fervently argued debate aside there is a clear trend among today’s in progressive scene that pays direct homage to the big three as many see them……King Crimson, Yes and Pink Floyd. The latter, notably referencing what Roger Waters and David Gilmour brought to music, have figured regularly in both tribute band activity and the content of progressive rock albums over the last 15 years. Gilmour’s guitar style is much copied, but the pioneering compositional innovations and story telling techniques of Roger Water’s are strongly represented in many key releases.

Some bands quite unashamedly draw from the style and pace of Pink Floyd at their greatest. Chief among these has been the early work of Porcupine Tree. Stephen Wilson, who has become a latter day Waters of sorts, wrote a series of albums that carried the Floyd tradition forward in a new and exiting way. Suddenly it was cool again to like this wonderfully dramatic and mentally challenging music. Indeed much of the modern Progressive movement owes a debt to Wilson and his tireless work ethic. There was never a hint of plagiarism as Porcupine Tree were always their own band. This has been proven by their later output which itself has seen many imitators of late.

Despite the growing European interest in progressive rock, England undoubtedly still plays a major role in establishing the new wave of ‘proggers’ as they have become known. Though not strictly linked to Floyd in style English bands like Konchordat, Haken, Also Eden, Big Big Train and Karnakata have come to the forefront in recent years.

A Liverpool band, Anathema, morphed from doom laden death metal protagonists into an intropsective and emotional outfit that clearly owed more to Pink Floyd and Roger Waters than Opeth or Paradise Lost. The dreamy, pathos laden soundscapes they create are assuringly original but clearly ‘Floydian’ in style. This change in musical direction dismayed their early fans, but new followers must have been heartily assured that such wonderfully moving music was still possible amid increasingly cynical, product driven times.

Mostly Autumn, who hail from York, are undeniably interesting though they ply a more traditional rock furrow these days. Set against often strong Celtic tones, their guitarist has produced some truly staggering solo guitar playing that would not be out of place in The Wall. Add to this the work of seminal band Arena led by Clive Nolan whose songs are carried along by the technically astounding guitar work of John Mitchell and there is enough angst ridden, dramatic playing with heart rending climaxes to keep a nation of Floyd fans happy until they draw their final breath. The clear influence of The Wall on the writing of these bands proved that Waters in particular had not been forgotten. Now, with renewed interest in and the astounding success of ‘The Wall’ all over the world, it seems absurd to think that forgetting him might even be possible. Both Arena and Mostly Autumn carried Prog through the fallow 1990’s along with such stalwarts as Pendragon, IQ and the previously mentioned Porcupine Tree.

As previously mentioned, Scandinavia has seen tremendously creative artists issue some truly memorable albums in recent years. Carptree, owing more to Peter Hamill and VDGG than Floyd make ingeniously crafted records with some of the most superlative playing heard in recent years. The style owes a great deal to Sondheim in places but there is a clear debt to the narrative style that Waters pioneered in the Wall. Tortured central characters are brought to life through the music in a way that Waters could readily identify with. Each of their albums takes years to make, but when they emerge their dedicated followers treasure each one. They deserve greater exposure.

Sweden is the home of The Flower Kings another group of technically brilliant and prolific musicians. They guest on hundreds of other albums and even have a side project called Karmakanic which is the equal of Carptree in terms of quality. Their style is closer to classic Yes but they cannot be excluded from any discussion of what is going on in progressive music. This said, their classic track ‘Two Blocks from the Edge’ opens in proud Pink Floyd style. It must also be noted that the musicianship and production is everything you might expect from thoughtful, talented and supremely talented Scandinavians. This, of course, is where Pink Floyd and Waters in particular always scored highly……the tradition is thus continued.

In Norway Airbag has been creating waves and are soon to issue their third album. The first two are absolute modern day evocations of ‘Wish You Were Here’ period Pink Floyd. They are both moody, emotional and inspiring classics. There is little doubt that if David Gilmour heard them he would assert that he did not remember recording the solo’s on the albums so close are they to his style. This is not a criticism as the band retains an originality that begs subsequent listenings in a way that many less talented Floyd ‘clones’ do not. This is a truly talented outfit. They have drawn on Waters and Floyd to make new music that keeps the flame alive.

Moving on to Australia where Pink Floyd tribute bands seem to proliferate as rapidly as Kangaroos, there is one group, admittedly based on a Floyd tribute band, that leaves many listeners breathless when first encountering their music. Anubis released an album called ‘The Tower of Silence’ a couple of years ago. Many are attracted in true progressive style by the album art work. This is soon augmented by the quality of the music. The scale and pace of the songwriting clearly evokes influences from classic era Floyd notably in the guitar and keyboard work, though the start of the opening track is very reminiscent of King Crimson too.

Rarely do modern bands pull off the trick of carrying the listener along and then raising them up to a climax as does this band. There is no doubt that a strong Australian influence can be heard in the song structures of Anubis which is to be admired, but the imprint of Roger Waters is clear for all to hear notably in track six, ‘ And I Wait For My World To End’. Their third album due out in 2014 is eagerly anticipated. Although the musical business has undeniably changed with respect to the fortunes of bands such as Anubis there seems little doubt that with the right exposure this band could be huge. They are set to headline a major Progressive festival in Germany in May 2015. It would be a crime to miss them.

One aspect of Roger Waters work that will always be an essential element of great Progressive Rock is that of the narrative based around a central character. Waters tribute to Syd Barrett and the use of Pink’s rise and decline in The Wall as a vehicle for his ideas is a method that has taken firm root in many current offerings. Sean Filkins after he left Big Big Train came out with an album that certainly utilized this approach strongly.

Greater still is the work of Cosmograf, led by the multi talented Robin Armstrong. His album ‘When Age Has Done It’s Duty’ has all the introspection and deeply provoking thought you might expect from Waters at his best. The album takes us on a journey accompanied by music of the highest quality. Waters always seem to put great emphasis on the strength of composition and that message has been well and truly applied here. The songs and bridging passages are consistently enjoyable and worthy of repeated listening. These bands do not achieve the popularity of years past, but Cosmograf are capable of producing modern day classics.

All the hallmarks of classic Water’s are in place in the work of Robin Armstrong. The drama, angst and singular cries of the lonely or isolated man set against the insanity and indifference of the world loom large. Solo voice accompanied by sympathetic acoustic guitar, echo vocals and repeated phrases all vie to remind us of Waters, yet
they are woven into a new musical fabric that makes the listener take notice and listen closely. We reminisce. We applaud the artist for recalling his musical origins. Never once is it apparent that this approach is lacking in originality or derivative. The talent on display is of such a level that it avoids such flippant accusations. There are many examples of less talented bands who mercilessly plagiarize Floyd, Roger Waters and to an even greater extent early Genesis : they deserve no mention here.

Poland is making serious waves in the world of progressive music. Though bands like Riverside have established a distinctive Polish style others such as the Black Noodle Project have unequivocally set themselves up as modern day Floyd influenced artists. The imprint of Roger Waters is very clear on even a cursory listening to their most recent work. ‘Meddle’ comes to mind in many of their tracks.

English band Freedom To Glide have on their recent album ‘Rain’ produced an anti war epic that will be readily compared to The Wall in terms of its message and use of radio, dialogue and sound effects that compliment the music. The composition is smooth and excellently recorded. The playing is accomplished though it lacks the rousing peaks and troughs of The Wall. It is an altogether more sombre work with a superb central metaphor likening the fall of soldiers in war to the fall of rain. I have no doubt that Roger Waters would respect this sentiment as being truly iterative of all he feels about the waste and pointlessness of war and the arms race. It will, of course, never rival The Wall but ‘Rain’ is one of the clearest examples to date of how music can be used to rail against the pointlessness of most wars redolent as it is with Waters style pithy observation and fearless critique !

There is little doubt that progressive music is alive and well. This brief review merely touches the surface of all that is currently being recorded and released. There has been for the past three to four years a specialist publication called – wait for it – ‘Prog’, that is devoted to progressive rock. The magazine plays a central role in enabling those with a thirst for the music to keep on finding succor for their obsession. I will aim to update this part of my blog as more bands recalling the greatness of Waters and Gilmour are discovered.

Unquestionably one of the most critical influences on the musical rebirth of progressive rock music, notably with the more thoughtful works produced, is the work of Roger Waters. Echoes of innovation live on.


The Final London performance of The Wall

The Final London performance of The Wall

Meeting Dave Kilminster who played on the wall and is a current leading light in modern Prog !!!

Meeting Dave Kilminster who played on the wall and is a current leading light in modern Prog !!!

Snowy White and ...............?

Snowy White and ……………?

Finally ! It’s cool to be a runner again !!!

Los Fast Boys, Diva, Lauren and I !!!!

Los Fast Boys, Diva, Lauren and I !!!!

It has been a breath defying summer. Humidity that would grace the finest Finnish Sauna has been our constant companion these past months. In the midst of this Britrunner, yours truly, has struggled to maintain anything like a decent level of training. Frankly, the steamy hot months almost left me questioning my love of running……….something I could never have considered possible in years past. I have commented more than a few times here that, for me, 80 degree heat and more simply does not work ! Those born in the swampy sub tropical environs of South Florida seem to rather like it, but this northern European soul with more than dash of nordic genetics making up his existence is not built for it.Not in the slightest.

So, I was bolstered these past two weeks by temperatures in the low 50’s for a 5K race in Boca Raton and more recently a tolerable 68 degrees in Parkland, although humidity at 88% seemed to be indicative of a last stand before cooler fall and winter air chased it away.

This last Saturday for instance we were greeted by 68 degree weather, a clear fresh morning and a glorious silver disc of a moon smiling in the most welcoming way. My running light struggled against the lunar wash that bathed the road ahead. Even the lights adorning some of my fellow runners caps, lights that resembled the ‘full on’ beams of pickup trucks could not detract from the beauty of the scene that accompanied us on this outing. All was well in our running world.

To add to the pleasure of the morning we were complemented by returning heroes from last weeks Ironman Florida. I was, it seemed, surrounded by more iron than the trans Siberian rail road. Such elevated company saw me pick up the pace as I forgot where I was for a few miles. Thankfully one of my more sensible club mates caught us and threw a blanket of good old fashioned sense over the proceedings. The pace was ameliorated to a more sensible 8-8:10 per mile. I was thus able to return to my intended pace as a means of ensuring I did not do any dmage to a still fragile knee. I hope to run a couple of half marathons this year and that could all be in jeopardy by doing something stupid at this point !

Los Fast boys as I will now affectionately dub my Central and South American freinds, were allowed to run on. Btw guys I’m still waiting for the Spanish translation of ‘fast boys’ !!!!. It cannot be that difficult to conjure up an appropriate monicker for such a fine collection of runners and triathletes.

Bill, my club mate, and I ran the remainder of the 10 miles together and, I’m pleased to say, came up with a workable plan for world peace and a also good approach to getting race ready in the midst of the conversation we shared. It is amazing the things that runners discuss when on a long trek together………maybe I will have to pen a blog post on that very subject !!!!

In the final analysis it was gratifying to get a great run in now that the weather has cooled down. If I want a sauna I’ll go to the aforementioned Finland. For now I will run around Parkland in cooler air and be thankful for it !!

Until next time I can only say………….. Be healthy. Run well. Enjoy. Cooler weather is here.

You know it makes sense.

Recent Roads and Those recalled: Running, the ‘tough love’!

Recent Roads and Those recalled: Running, the ‘tough love’!

Running on Wimbledon Common !

Running on Wimbledon Common !

The Oldest runnning club in the world

The Oldest runnning club in the world

The path back to respectability as a runner is not an easy one. I discovered this as I have found it increasingly hard to motivate myself for long runs in particular as this smothering summer heat continues unabated. Morning short runs have ceased due to the pressures of a new job and evening runs hinge largely on whether the heat drops below 90 degrees and there is some decent cloud cover. Of course, cloud cover in Florida invariably prefaces storms, dazzling lightning shows and heavy rain!!!

I often find myself telling people that I live in Florida partly because I like the fact we can run all year round. This is essentially true, but whether we can run well is a point that promotes much discussion at my South Florida running club – this year more so, it seems. While I have no doubt that the science supporting climate change is real, there certainly seems to be much local anecdotal evidence that the earth is getting warmer, at least when I am out running !!!!!

All of this has left me sometimes to recall with fondness the days when I ran in London and the Sussex South Downs hills before my eventual emigration to the United States in 2003.


When I lived in England I thought nothing of adding leggings and a second layer to my attire, donning gloves and heading out for a cross country trek over Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park where Henry VIII once famously hunted. In winter the perennial heathland puddles froze over and farm tracks hardened into ankle turning ridges. Not to worry. We simply took care and got on with it. On days when it was so cold that five lungs full of air would preserve them for all of eternity we stayed inside and drank fine ales at the 17th century inn near my apartment.

This ‘training’ method seemed to work and was warmly supported by all and sundry within the club, although I secretly suspected that some hard nosed individuals actually took their training seriously and ran in all weathers. We, the rank and file, of course drank their health, told stories alongside high piled log fires built in Jacobian hearths and looked forward to their exploits in the upcoming Olympics. Yes. We had Olympians. Shady characters with medals, silly PR’S and no evident desire to support the local brewing trade at all!!!!! We were drinkers with a running problem it seems. The Wimbledon chapter of this worldwide phenomenon no less.

We competed only sparsely and ran on clement days, an occurrence not always guaranteed. November afternoons of grey, bone leaching drizzle were enough to deter all but the most intrepid aspiring racer, but as we were not really training for anything in particular it was ok to take a day off and head to the pub. My club, Belgrave Harriers, one of the oldest in the world condoned such attitudes. It was ok to run for fun and race from time to time. I wonder sometimes if this is still the case, especially when I see the times posted in the Park Series 5 K races wherein the first 50 runners all come in under 18 minutes. Times are changing my friend when the English seem to give a damn! Do they actually train now, I muse?

On those dull, cold Saturday afternoons when we got back to our clubhouse, an old Victorian building with meeting rooms, basic changing facilities and communal showers with, of course, a place for making tea we would slowly wait for the sensation to return to our hands and feet while our noses indicated a semblance of function by starting to run again. This was where the cotton gloves we often wore came in useful or better still that long sleeve of the light rugby shirt worn for the run with the club vest on top of it. Mr Hen would walk round shaking a wooden box fixed to a flat wooden handle as we stiffly moved our fragile, chilled limbs and changed. As he passed each of us we would rather unskillfully drop a few coins in though the slot on top of the box. A collection for club funds was the purpose of these grubby pennies and shillings gladly proffered. Ah happy days. You see, we knew no better!


Naturally, there were warm days. As I recall we had about seven of these in any given year. They were to be enjoyed and talked about in the months when the darkness gathered more tightly than eager runners clumped together on the start line ready for an autumnal 5K.

The starting line !!!

The starting line !!!

Then I moved to Florida……………………………………………

More Humidity please !!!!

More Humidity please !!!!

Things changed when I joined my first running club here. A Fort Lauderdale outfit that actually sponsored and held races. I had lost a fair amount of weight in recent months and was in much better shape. What a brilliant idea it might be to see how fast I could run these races. It was tough at first because I lacked fitness and I was totally bamboozled by this warm air that seemed to follow me everywhere. Consider that I had never started a run before 10AM in England and then imagine my surprise at lining up for a race At 6:30AM in the dark. This is the Florida way.

Indeed, I have to remember to tell any English friends that come here looking forward to a race that things kick off in the earliest hours or they will pitch up when the age group awards are being given to the over 60’s or just as the last of us has headed home!!!

Things are taken a lot more seriously here in Florida. People talk of regular races, their progressive improvement of times and all they are doing to be better still. If you were unaware of it at the start you soon become familiar with the extent of your competitive spirit by joining a club in Florida. No matter what your age or ability there seems to be something other than humidity in the air. It is the inescapable joy of being outside, in the warm weather, by the ocean and alive!! Welcome to Florida running at its best though beware the dog days of summer training !!!! They sap the strength and flatten the will, but we plod on in soaked, squishing running shoes because we know that soon the balmy days will return.  

I have written before about how best to handle the hot weather and humidity, but have only touched on how demotivating this can be. Carrying a persistent nagging injury doesn’t help, but we are runners and we famously press on through the aches and pains because that is what we do!! Right? We run! That said, the almost sauna like characteristics of the atmosphere and its lung soaking humidity seem to strip the last vestiges of pleasure from long runs in particular.

As September advances many of us are heard to plead both publicly and privately ‘when will it end, when will the cool weather return?’ Of course, by ‘cool’ we Florida based runners mean anything close to or under 70 degrees. To us that is a winter blast, though personally I would welcome anything in the 50’s, a temperature that sends my fellow Floridian athletes scurrying for the closet in search of that long sleeve running vest that we know is in there somewhere. Color is not important nor style, so long as it protects them from the imaginary frosts they believe lie in wait for them.

Florida living softens the soul and thins the blood many say and the array of warm swaddling clothing suddenly adorned in these parts when more temperate weather settles on our roads bears clear testament to this.

Even when it is cooler the time hardened habit of convening before the dawn remains for many of us. Perish the thought that we might get up an hour later just because it is cooler. Arising at such silent hours is all part of the ritual of being a runner. A Florida runner. You see it’s hard, running, and not for the faint hearted. Apparently.


In Florida it gets very HOT !!!!

In Florida it gets very HOT !!!!

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.