Rash Ramblings

A runner once, an explorer always!

Posts Tagged ‘Past experiences’

Influence or Influenced

Another day of activity begins. I am out the door in the dark somewhere close to 5:30 a.m. As I pass under the first street light, it is blinding and much brighter than all the others I will come to as it is my first and my eyes are not yet used to the light. It is the dead of Summer. The heat is incessant. There have been over forty days so far with highs over a hundred. Even at this early hour, the air is thick and its touch is heavy. I move out of the light and hope for the most part to soak in my solitude.

I come upon a dog in the backyard across the street. Its barking is unsure and half hearted as though he sensed something was not right, but was not fully aware of my presence. This is just as I would like it. This is my time to be alone. I’m not looking for any “howdy do’s” or “how are you’s” from faceless images in the dark. This is my time to know me and analyze my place in this world. Often I may feel like the person that goes into a crowded room. It is that feeling of being apart, yet still a part of that crowd.

I pass others doing their routine and I do my best to stay out of their path and remain unnoticed. Through repetition you become somewhat aware of their routine, whether you want to are not. You expect to see them here or there and when they do not appear for whatever reason, there is a hole. If you never see them again, you may always wonder what happened to them even though you really have no reason to.

I have been thinking about this in regard to our placement in life. We sometimes find ourselves in what we perceive to be bad situations or unfulfilling jobs for whatever reason. It may not be that we were put in that place or that job, because it was going to do anything for us. What if we were put where we are at a certain time so that we could influence or be influenced by a certain person or certain people. Although you can’t necessarily see it at the time there is a purpose and maybe we should just be the best that we can and let time take care of the why. That doesn’t mean go along aimlessly. You still have to have goals and a plan. It is just that the pacing of this plan is not totally in our control. Take the bumps, fix the flat…but keep on going.


Crazy in the Heat

Unwilling in this relentless heat to take the time to speak, my blog for a while fell silent. This morning as I made my way out the door I was met by the hot stale breath of Summer. Although, at this point, it was unwelcome, it was not unexpected. At almost forty days over the century mark, this Summer is starting to drag on. I have backed off and am only willing to take a brisk two mile walk in the morning. I will continue with this schedule until we have a week with no days over a hundred. There is no real reason to deplete my reserves in the morning and then totally tear myself down working out in this heat all day long. I keep telling myself it is time to move on, but I know for now i am not quite finished in this capacity.

I watch as others make their way past my view. I wonder the thoughts that go through peoples minds or sometimes even the apparent lack of thoughts. Many people these days move through their routines with either earphones or telephones constantly to their ears. They are so intent on this they are pumping in their ear that they can’t readily react to the occurrences around them. People these days are so distracted and lazy. Too many shortcuts and not enough discipline. We have a society so intent on protecting everyone from everyone else that many have lost the ability to do it for themselves. People are willing to let someone else decide their future.

In my present quest, I choose to change this trend, at least in the scope that I am able. Carefully, I will walk and intently will I find my direction.


Now What?

April 5, 2011 – I took most of the week after the Capitol 10,000 off. This time of year, doing what I do, is not the best time of the year to pick to do a race. The two or three weeks before the race were infused with the beginning of the Spring rush. I have been in the landscape industry for most of the last 26 years. For a while now I have been on my own as it has afforded me the most flexibility and, although I did have some people working for me at first, I decided to be a one man business. This means if there is anything physical to do, I do it. I am at peace with that. I see no shame in digging a hole, especially if I can put a tree in it.  ( I continue this now 17 days later. April 22, 2011) One thing leads to another. My focus is changing and I am about to embrace it all. This has been a great learning experience. No where is something understood better than when you are right there in its clutches.

When I began this move out on my own, I was overweight and out of condition. I began the landscaping and my physical conditioning improved, but my weight didn’t change much. I have gotten stronger and now that I am running again, I am in much better condition. I know that with persistence and dedication I can move to that next place. The question is, ” where is that next place?” I am in a holding pattern for the moment, but stay tuned as I work through that.


Fri 33:32.22 Walk     Mon 23:10.64 W/R     Tue 25:08.53 W/R     Wed 31:44.38 Walk     Thur 21:52.83 W/R     Fri 34:17.15 Walk      Tue 29:54.61 Walk     Wed 23:50.19 W/R     Thur 22:51.44 W/R     Fri 22:34.33 W/R     Sat 30:18.57 W/R    Sun 31:10.43 W/R     Mon 22:37.01 W/R     Wed 24:27.37 W/R     Thu 22:43.41W/R     Fri  23:01.74W/R


Texas Independence Day

In honor  of the 175th anniversary of the declaration of Texas’ independence I am posting a letter my great-great-great grandfather, Samuel T. Allen, wrote upon his arrival into Texas. This letter was written to his brother Caleb back in Stonington, Connecticut. The original letter is on file in THE SAMUEL T. ALLEN PAPERS at THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN HISTORY on the University of Texas Campus at Austin. This letter was transcribed by Gary Rash on April 5, 2003.

San Jacinto Augt 25th 1830

Dear Brother,

This will inform you of my safe arrival in the province of Texas in good health and spirits. I arrived on the 21st of July after a long tedious & rather dangerous passage of eleven days from New Orleans the trip very often made in 4 days – we were blown off the coast and suffered much for water – but I feel thankful that our fate was no worse for on examining the vessel after our cargo was discharged we found her to be completely rotten – so bad that I could pierce my knife through her plank I think therefore that I have been peculiarly fortunate to escape as well as I have I am certain that in the future I shall not put to sea without first ascertaining whether I am in a sea boat or a mere wreck.

I purchased a mule immediately on my arrival and have been travelling ever since in this time I have seen nearly the whole of this province and I must agree with all others who have seen it that it far surpasses any other country I have ever seen I believe this spot to be the Eden of North America I think I have at last arrived at the promised land – the fairest spot on earth.

My dear Brother you have requested of me to inform you when I found a place where you could do well by your trade I have now found that place a golden opportunity now presents itself for you to accumulate a fortune on a short time by your trade I shall proceed to print out to you the advantages—Common wool hats such as sell in Connecticut for 75 cents are here worth from $2.00 to $2.50 – roram(?) hats that sell with you for $3.00 & $4.00 are here worth $8. to $12.00 & hats of better quality sell proportionatably high – furs are cheaper here than with you wool is about the same – If you become a citizen under the Mexican government (which is a republican government like the one under which you now live) as I have you will receive 1111 acres of land – if you area a married man you will receive four times this amount which is 4444 acres this of itself is certainly a great inducement

A gentleman with whom I now board by the name of Lynch says that if you will come here & commence your business: he wall pledge himself to give you one acre of Land in a very suitable place & convenient for your business as it borders on the San Jacinto river . so that you would never want for water close to your door . I think this place will be an excellent place for your business you can live here and take up your land where you please. —

I do not wish to urge you to come to this country on account of my dear Mother and Sisters who I know need someone to remain with them – but still feeling for you the affection of a Brother. I cannot bear the idea that you should work so hard and so long as you do and will if you remain in Connecticut and barely gain a subsistence after all your toil – when if you were to come to this country you could accumulate property with so much more facility – this argument alone must outweigh every objection – we all wish to make money as fast & as easy as possible, it is what we all strive for in this world – It was for the purpose of accumulating wealth that I first left my native country. the land of my birth. And all those that were near and dear to me – and until I have accomplished this end at least in a measure I shall never cease to strive I think it to be a duty incumbent upon the Brother & Son of the widow & fatherless to strive to make all in their power and endeavor to alleviate their wants

I would advise you my dear Brother as one who feels deeply interested for your future welfare & prosperity to come to this country as soon as possible and be assured that as far as lies in my power I will render you any service which you may want—

Uncle George is here with me and coincides me in opinion in respect to your emigrating to this country he says that I must tell you not to delay but to come on as soon as possible before some one stops you in your place –

Write me as soon as you receive this and inform me of your determination – If you conclude to come out I will write you a letter of instructions – informing you of your route and cheapest mode of conveyance – likewise what will be necessary to bring with you.

Give my best love to all with you & mother & sister when you see them & be assured I remain your affectionate & loving Brother.

Samuel T. Allen


03/02/2011     Apparently a PR for my 2 mile course this morning.     Wed  16:50.45



New Directions

At this time I seem to be settling into a little bit of a groove. I am still tight and it hurts when I first start off, but after a little while I loosen up and it is not so much a struggle. I am also understandinging that one thing is not going to do it. Everything is integrated. You have to exercise. You have to watch what and how much you eat. You have to make sure you get enough sleep and just enough rest in general. Pressure and stress is put on our mind and body when these areas get out of balance. Everything needs to slow down. The mindset of “MORE” needs to be replaced by getting by on less and uncluttering our lives.

I have been getting double beef hamburgers for so long it is now just a habit. I have realized lately that the single hamburger is no less satisfying. For a long while, I have approached the all you can eat buffet in a different way. I can get as much as I want and mostly enjoy the variety, but it has to be on one plate with no refills. I feel so much better later. We have been programmed to over do it. Before the downturn in the economy, we were working harder and longer to make more money so we could spend more for things we really don’t use.

It is time to rearrange and retool for a much more satisfying and rewarding life. 

Thu  19:11.48     Fri  18:46.10     Sat  44:36.89     Sun  17:36.86     Mon  47:49.72  Tue  47:53.25



The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.

Hans Hofmann


I think people want very much to simplify their lives enough so that they can control the things that make it possible to sleep at night.

Twyla Tharp


Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. 

Albert Einstein


Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying.  The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.

Elise Boulding


Maybe a person’s time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to buy food.    

    Frank A. Clark


I go about looking at horses and cattle.  They eat grass, make love, work when they have to, bear their young.  I am sick with envy of them. 

Sherwood Anderson


How many things are there which I do not want.



Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are.  When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. 

Lao Tzu


Each day, awakening, are we asked to paint the sky blue? Need we coax the sun to rise or flowers to bloom? Need we teach birds to sing, or children to laugh, or lovers to kiss? No, though we think the world imperfect, it surrounds us each day with its perfections. We are asked only to appreciate them, and to show appreciation by living in peaceful harmony amidst them. The Creator does not ask that we create a perfect world; He asks that we celebrate it.  

Robert Brault





Destination achieved…

No run today,  just a journal entry from my 1984 bike ride:

Monday  September 17, 1984

I set out from the Snyder Travelodge at 9:00. I had stayed in room 215. I got off a little later than I had planned so I knew I was going to have to do some hard riding to get to where I wanted to, when I wanted to.

The wind was in my face and my knees were hurting but I knew it was my last day so I even pushed a little harder.

I made it to Roscoe and I decided to stop at the Dairy Queen. I wasn’t going to at first but I remembered I had a 1934 series five dollar bill hidden away in my wallet…otherwise I only had about a dollar seventy-five.

It was so good. I had a Dude, fries, and a medium Dr. Pepper. I also had a D.Q. sandwich (ice cream). I made it to the Dairy Queen at about 12:15 and I left about 12:45.

I was passing Sweetwater at 1:00…there was lots of downhill and I was standing up and cranking.

I pushed really hard and made it to Abilene at 4:00….

 We will either find a way, or make one.
– Hannibal

If I set for myself a task, be it so trifling, I shall see it through. How else shall I have confidence in myself to do important things?  – George Clason

I’m a big believer in growth. Life is not about achievement, it’s about learning and growth, and developing qualities like compassion, patience, perseverance, love, and joy, and so forth. And so if that is the case, then I think our goals should include something which stretches us. – Jack Canfield


I was out on the run thinking about commitment. All those years I wasn’t running wasn’t as much about not having the time to do it, but more about no longer taking the time to do it. That is how we open new areas of interest. There comes a time that we make time for this new thing and if this is something we truly desire to accomplish, it is very important that we do not lapse and let something else ooze into this block. I f you were wanting to run and didn’t feel you could run, then walk or do sit-ups or something that is related. Just make sure you don’t let something take this time over – go through the motions until you can get back on track. This is mostly about building a routine. This is really true in any area you want to pursue. If you want to be a writer and can’t think what to write, then just sit down and write the alphabet out over and over until you can turn them into words. Do what you want to become and you will move that direction and slowly gain expertise in that endeavor. That is why I do these things and I must remain diligent.  18:44.99


After taking a couple of days break in Lubbock to see old friends and visit my former employers, it was time again to continue my journey to finish my trip from Durango, Colorado to Abilene, Texas in 1984.

Ready to leave Lubbock.

…today Sunday, September 16 (1984).

I got up this morning and went to get the flat fixed. I went to the Texaco station by Tech (on University). I couldn’t find the hole so I went by Roland and Penny’s…(Ron and Rick’s cousin). I had to borrow a wrench so I could get my front wheel off to change the tube.

While I was at Roland’s he almost insisted I eat an omelet…so I did. It was great!

I then went by my friend’s sister’s place so I could get my windbreaker. I also wondered where my pump was – I lost it somewhere here in Lubbock….

I then went back to my friend’s mother’s house and packed my bike up. His sister called and then I went and picked her up – she wanted to take some pictures before I left.

I finally got on the road about 12:30. It was overcast and cool…quite a change to what I had been riding in. Two guys came up beside me on bicycles and I talked to them until we got to Slaton. They said something about the bike club out on a ride…I then thought to myself I might see Jürgen and Simoné. Not long after that – I did. They were riding their tandem along side another guy. They were really moving on. They both had red, white, and green shirts on. I said “Jürgen”. He heard me and recognized me… He said “Gary.”

I made it to Post about 4:45 pm. I was riding against the wind all the way. I stopped and got some snacks and had to figure which way I wanted to go. It was 89 miles to Aspermont and only 44 miles to Snyder. It would still be close but I took off for Snyder at 5:00 pm. I had been talking to a boy (about 12 or 13) …he asked a lot of questions about where I’d been, what I had been doing and where I was going.

I did a lot of stand up riding after I left Post. I got a lot of strange looks from people along the way. The sun was over the horizon and I was still about 6 miles from Snyder. I passed a place that had about a 10 foot high chain link fence and all the sudden all of these dogs ( about 7) were racing to the fence line. I didn’t think I had anything to worry about until they flew through a gap in the gates. I had an adrenaline rush…they never really got close after that.

It was about 8:40 pm when I got checked in at the Snyder Travelodge. I used my credit card and still got my room for $18.95 though I had to take an upstairs room. I called Mom because I told her I would be there Sunday at the latest. I got to bed about 11:0 pm.

Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle will never know.  – Charles Kingsley

I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time. – Charles Dickens

The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. – Confucius

What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.   Samuel Johnson


Day Six…

Every morning I run I am formulating what I am going to write while I am on the run. I want to record what I was thinking, but even more I want to have said something that is useful to someone else. I started these runs because I have a goal to place in the top ten of my age group at the next Austin American-Statesman sponsored Capitol 10,000. The tenth place finisher in my age group last year ran a chip time of 42:55. Back when I was running my best I ran some 10Ks in the 33:00’s, so I definitely know the potential is there. I take my steps slowly now knowing I will increase the intensity at an increasing rate as the race draws near. My biggest step has been to get my body use to the routine and movement of running regularly.

On the run today I was going over important things to monitor while on the run. I try to make sure I am relaxed – shoulders are down, hands are open and relaxed, jaws are loose (you don’t want to be gritting your teeth) and also that I keep a smooth stride. I also have running through my mind something one of  the runners I used to run with said. His name is Greg Lautenslager and all of us at Tech that ran with him were pushed more just by around him while training. He said, and this quote may not be exact, that a coach of his once said that “you must run to win and the rest will take care of itself.’ I don’t know that I ever thought that way. I always tried to do MY best, but did I sell myself short by having a preconceived notion of what my best was? I think if I had consciously had that thought in mind I might have done better.

I will go into this endeavor with that thought in mind. It is time to step it up. I will not let my mind hold me back. I say I will aim to be in the top ten, but I really strive to win my division. Now as I wind this down, I look back in an excerpt from my journal to day six of  my bike ride in 1984 from Durango, Colorado back to Texas. :

Thursday September 13, 1984

I left my camp in the river bed headed for Vega. It was just barely light when I started (7:07 am)

A shot from my campground under the bridge.

I think the ride from Channing to Vega was the toughest so far…no matter whether I was going uphill or downhill I had to pedal. The wind was blowing in my face…and at times 20 -30 miles an hour. It was also about 93 – 95 degrees and the sun was beaming down on me. I was thinking to myself of seeing how the ride from Hereford to Lubbock was and if it wasn’t any better – I might take the bus to Abilene.

I made it to Vega about 11:15…thank God. I stopped at a the grocery store and bought some snacks…chocolate milk, pineapple cinnamon rolls, bananas, and an orange. I went across the street to the courthouse lawn and sat under a tree and ate. Vega was a nice town though there wasn’t a whole lot there. I was heading out of town and stopped at a gas station to fill my water bottles…I also rested a little more.

I headed on to Hereford. It was not nearly as bad there. I got up some speed for a while…then the wind picked up again and I ran into some uphill. The sun was really hot and the trees along the road were about 15 miles apart.

It was good to get to Hereford (about 3:15 pm). I headed to a friend’s dad’s house…… I knocked on the door and one of his younger sisters opened the door and she didn’t recognize who I was…at first she thought I was the yard boy. (Pretty funny as it turns out) His dad came home about 5:30 or 6:00 and he took us out to eat at K-Bob’s. It was great I had steak and shrimp.

It was great to see them again… …His younger sister talked me into riding into Lubbock with her (didn’t take much). God answers prayer! We got into Lubbock late…

I stayed in Lubbock a couple of days so I won’t add another excerpt again until the 16th. 18:04.30

Heat, ma’am! it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.  ~Sydney Smith, Lady Holland’s Memoir


Day Five…

I got back out running this morning. It is still muggy and uninviting out there. My mind for some reason this morning was on politics and politicos and this just made this run much more tasteless. I like my mind to be clear so I can concentrate on what is going on during the run. It is also good when not really thinking about anything, but just letting all that can be gathered through my senses be enjoyed. 

Now for another excerpt from 1984 bike trip journal…

Wednesday September12, 1984

The wind has been much worse than the mountains…and the heat is much worse here. I’ve backed off the pace…today was just a pickup day…tomorrow will be easier though with Hereford only 63 miles away – but there is only one town in between –> Vega.

I got up in Clayton – took a shower and was on the road by 6:50 MDT. I made good time to Texline…It was about 8:45 CDT. I nearly blew the day off in Dalhart. I was getting really discouraged. I took a break under a highway bridge about 9 miles out and I was really set on staying in a hotel there, but I decided to get a Dude at the Dairy Queen and see how I felt after that. I decided I would be better off if I just rode till I didn’t want to ride anymore. I made it to Hartley and bought two Dr. Peppers and after I finished them I filled them with water…so hopefully I won’t run out between towns. I got four miles out of Channing and noticed I had a flat (low) tire – the back end was bouncing up and down when I was pedaling. Luckily I was close to some trees. I took the bike over there and fixed the flat, but my pump sucks so I put enough air in where it wouldn’t hurt the tire or tube and walked the bike 4 miles to Channing. There I put air in at a Texaco station. I was surprised and relieved to find a station open in a town that small (304) at nearly 7:00. The old man was inside watching TV. He never came out, just waved when I was leaving.

Taking a break under a bridge.


The Texas road I was traveling

 I then bought two more soft drinks from a machine at a closed station at the other edge of town.

I could see the terrain was changing some and the lady at the store in Hartley said something about a river. I decided I would ride to the river and camp there.

I rode to the nearest bridge and if this is the river – it’s dried up… so I am sleeping in my river bed tonight. Tomorrow I’m just trying for Hereford. Money situation is not good, I only have about $ 8.00 …hopefully I can cash a check in Hereford.

The Riverbed Campground

I’ve been 472 miles so far in 5 days.


That is all for now.


Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.
– Albert Einstein

My bicycle and gear up close.


Day Four…

More from my 1984 bike trip…

Tuesday September 11, 1984

I got up this morning and went to eat breakfast. After I got back to my room and got everything together I noticed a funny sound as I was going out the door. RM nbr 267.

My front tire had a hole in it …what a place to have a flat – in my hotel room. I thought I had everything I needed. The only thing I had to take off the front wheel was a pair of pliers…so I had to fix the tire on the bike. It was really probably easier.

I finally got away from the hotel at 8:20. I made it over Raton Pass and into Raton about 10:30. I stopped there at a Dairy Queen and had a chicken sandwich. I left Raton about  11:15. The road was bad for a while…big cracks that shook my mountain bike. Then the road got better and I had to ride against the wind. The wind was in my face and at my side…nearly blowing me off my bike or the wheels from under me at times. The winds got the worst between Des Moines and Clayton. I was running really low on water, when I spotted a windmill right by the road. What a relief. I filled up both bottles and nearly killed one besides. Then it started sprinkling and the wind probably picked up to 40 mph. I got on the bike and headed toward Clayton. They were doing kind of construction or digging on the edge of town and the wind was blowing the dirt across the road. I could hardly see even though I had my glasses on.

My Windmill Oasis

I got to town to see about a motel and the one I went in was full except for a double occupancy, but the man called another motel to see if they had a room available. He did and here I am at Cleo’s Motel and it only cost me $ 18.00. I ate in their restaurant and it was great (chicken fried steak…and I also had one of the hottest jalapeno peppers that I have ever eaten.)

Oh, by the way, I only made it to Clayton, so I’m still going to try to make it to Hereford tomorrow (141 miles).

That is all for today. I didn’t run. Thursday and Friday wore me out, so I’m just resting.