2011 SUCKED: Bring on the New Year!

This is a warning (because I forget that young ears might listen to my podcasts) that I rightfully use some bad language in today’s episode.

2011 sucked.  It sucked badly. I look forward to 2012 with hope and optimism.

Happy New Year to us all!


Bones for Christmas

This year my wife and I are giving each other a donation to the Beagles of New England States (B.O.N.E.S.) at http://www.bonesbeagles.org/

Unplugged Contest Winners!

Today I’m announcing the winners of the contest I introduced last week, where I asked you to give me your interpretation of the lyrics to the song “This Ship Goes Down Deep”.  THANK YOU for all the great responses, and CONGRATULATIONS to the winners, you’re copy of the CD should arrive shortly!
Go to http://blacklabworld.com/music/unplugged to purchase the new album for yourself (it’s also on iTunes).

Happy Holidays!

- Steve


Rapping About the App

I appreciate your support, but honestly you don’t have to buy my “Virtual Runners App” (well, you can…but you don’t really need it); because Phedippidations is FREE.

A Lesson from The Buddha

On the verge of celebrating my fiftieth year of experiencing metabolism; I am still an unfinished work in progress…with a long, LOONG way to go before I can claim any expertise in the art of human existing.

One area of interest that I’ve always been fascinated with is the culture and practice of religious spirituality: especially those practices unrelated and distant from the boundaries of Christianity: since that’s the way I happen to roll.

So, I’ve been reading, and listening to books, podcasts and online lectures on the topic of World Religions…and my first impression from the little that I’ve learned over the past year of our Lord is that they all have much in common.

But as I’m absorbing this stuff, there’s one philosophically significant form of spirituality that I think all classical religious groups could learn from, my own Roman Catholic Church included.  Now that I think of it, I suppose every living human being could benefit from these teachings, and way of thinking, as a means for improving our lives and making the world a better place.

I’m talking about the teachings founded by the Buddhist monk Bodhi-dharma in the 5th and 6th century AD…something called, very simply: Zen.

As with running, and learning about wine: Zen is something you have to practice: A LOT, if you want to make any progress towards any kind of enlightenment…but from what I’m learning…it has a lot of offer each and everyone of us…regardless of our religious, political, geographical or societal origin.

Before you power off your MP3 player or SMAH-GHT phone in anticipation of another rambling diatribe from the podcaster best known for such rantings, let me assure you that this isn’t a tirade on the topic of Zen Buddhism, nor even about spirituality in general. 

I just wanted to pass along one of the lessons of the Buddha, the enlightened one: which keeps coming back to me like a Black Lab song that I just can’t get out of my head.

This is a lesson about the truth of suffering, and the path that leads to the end of suffering.  It has to do with staying well within the boundaries of extremes, and taking the middle path.

See, I’ve always been an extremist.  Not satisfied with just running a few miles: I had to run a marathon, not happy just to lose a few pounds: in the summer of 1998 I dropped 70.  I could give you a painfully long list of other examples where I couldn’t just sample a subject or study by dipping my toe in the cool waters of knowledge: I had to launch an armada of battleships, directly into the froth and fray; over and above the call of duty and decency until every last possible experience or understanding could be voraciously consumed.

I have within me the dangerous propensity of becoming obsessive….you probably can tell by the way I talk about wine so often.  But I am getting better.  I am finding the middle path.

There was a time, you’ll note, where the production of this podcast was something that I simply HAD to get done on a weekly basis…there was also a time, not far in the past, when I simply HAD to run five days a week, no excuses, and there was a time when I did not, nay…COULD NOT miss a single Boston Red Sox baseball game…you want to talk obsessive: I own the rights to the Tee-shirts and bumper stickers. 

These are extremes, and of the many things I believe that the Buddha was absolutely correct about is that the path of extremes will always lead to suffering.

But then something happens that jolts you into the realization that you’ve been living your life in the wrong way.  Your obsessive behavior has poisoned your soul, your opinion and attitude about how others eat and run, as an example, might become very close-minded and you lose track of all of the good that healthy eating and exercise might have given you if you had only followed the middle path.

I recently heard about this distance runner who had changed his diet and dropped a lot of weight.  He had become completely obsessed with long distance and veganism.  In moderation, along the middle path, distance running and veganism is certainly a good and wonderful way to live your life….but this guy talks about these topics as if any other opinion is deserving of violence! The story goes that this not-much-of-a-fellow-runner decided to help a friend complete a world famous ultra race; and when that friend could no longer run and had to drop out…the obsessed possibly militant distance runner took it upon himself to chastise and push the friend way too hard; forcing his own obsession onto the runner who had chosen the middle path. 

I never want to be like that obsessed runner.  I never want to force you or any of my friends into the extremes of anything.  Living your life to the top does not mean: living your life above the atmosphere…to live your life to the top is to live it as best as you can, with quality and above all: happiness.

If I’ve ever come across to you (as I call myself “Steve Runner”) with an obsessive attitude of assumed authority, or given you the impression that you have to run a thousand miles a year, or finish a marathon in under four hours, in order to become enlightened and good…well, consider this my apology. 

If running doesn’t bring you happiness, please do not run; for your own sake. 

There are so many other ways to live a good and happy life.  I believe, with all my heart: that this lifestyle I talk about is a worthy one, but I can’t be so ignorant as to believe that it’s the ONLY way to live your life to the top. 

I’ve come to believe that running can help you to be happy, but only if you run the middle path.

I have a very long way to go, before I get anywhere near the nirvana of enlightenment, but this journey through space and time is a worthy endeavor.  As the Buddha taught: life involves suffering, but it also promises happiness…and we can get there by avoiding the extremes of indulging our desires and torturing our mind and bodies.

I’m Steve Runner, reminding you run long and taper.


A Message from THE RUNNER

A very special (not to mention Loooooong) episode of Phedippidations will hit your audio stockings on Christmas morning!  Here’s what it’s all about.


2K in Years is like a Fistful of Monopoly Money

The brilliant author, journalist and “new atheist” Christopher Hitchens just died, and it got me to thinking about my faith and the fact that the key historical events of my faith occurred only a few nanoseconds ago (in relation to the age of everything).


Not Merry STUFF-mas

I don't think we should be getting all "hung up" on the giving and receiving of gifts during the holidays.  I think WE are the gifts, and an emphasis should be placed on getting together with friends and family.


UnPlugged Contest

I’ve never done this before, but this new album by Black Lab ( http://blacklabworld.com ) is too good not to share.  I’m giving away an album to the best/most interesting/deepest/or even funniest response to the questions: What is this song all about?

Listen to the song “This Ship Goes Down Deep” from the new Black Lab album “Unplugged” and post your thoughts in Twitter, Facebook, your Blog or the social interface of your choice…THEN let me know where to read it.

Pretty simple, right?  We all interpret poetry and music differently, according to our perspectives in life.  I’m interested in your interpretation.
Go to http://blacklabworld.com/music/unplugged to purchase the new album for yourself (it’s also on iTunes).

Happy Holidays!

- Steve


Oops, I Dropped My iPad

This morning at exactly 8:02 AM, as I was trying to get my two puppies into the back seat of my car while simultaneously juggling a laptop backpack, a cup of coffee AND my iPad…

I dropped and destroyed my iPad.

It’s just a “thing” (a cool thing mind you) but I got over it.

Fortunately, the story has a happy ending (on two counts).


Funeral for a Friend

Last week, a 43 year old friend and co-worker of the past 15 years died.  It’s a sad time for all of us who appreciated him; but there is something to be learned when someone we care about passes away.  We are reminded that we have an obligation to live our own lives well, and should not hold back from showing appreciation to those who we live and work with every day.


Sound Seeing Tour of Oxford

Today I’ll take you for a run down Main Street, in the Massachusetts Town of Oxford.


Help Me Pick Some Moments from Past Episodes

I'm putting together a "Holiday Special" for my next episode of Phedippidations; and for this I need to travel back to the past to prevent a terrible "regeneration".  Let me know what moments from the past 6 and a half years you think have been important in the life of The Runner!


A New Fdip and Running with a Dalek!

Today I’m out on a run and talking about the upcoming Fdip281 which is all about racing in wine country!  THANK YOU to my friend Gordon Scott, who gave me the gift of Dr. Who!!


WARNING!! A New Episode of Fdip is Imminent

This weekend episode 281 of Phedippidations will hit you in the head, and this time we’re talking about running GRAPE RACES! (get it?  Grape instead of Great…no?  nothing?).  So strap in and pour yourself some liquid grape as we talk about some of the races run through wine country.


Let the Training Begin!


I’m starting up with Marathon training, so here we go again!  Bring on the miles!


Respect for Belief (to a point)

I’m listening to a course, online, all about “WORLD RELIGIONS” and I am finding it BRILLIANT and fascinating.  I love my faith, but I am not so ignorant to believe that I have “all the answers”, and this series of lectures that I’m listening to really reinforces this way of thinking that my parents taught me: appreciate everyone’s belief and opinion UNLESS they are being led astray in a “cult”.  I cannot be ignorant to the perspectives of other people.  YOUR idea of God is just as valid as mine (including those who do NOT believe).  Bottom line: I respect your opinion.


Nephew Johnny Eats the Lasagna

My nephew is a plight on my family, and like some marauding parasite of Italian food, he comes into my parents home and eats all the food that we Who’s would so feast…he ate the Who-pudding, and the Rare Who Roast Beast!!


Holiday Gift Ideas

1. Here are some OUTSTANDING books on the topic of running: http://www.runrunlive.com/my-books
2. Here is some INCREDIBLE music to listen to as you run: http://blacklabworld.com/new-album-presale-unplugged