All in David Himmel

Long Train Running: A Chicago Marathon Story | Chapter 5 — Thoughts Per Mile

The decades that have passed. The experiences that came when I was tender and new. Experiences that have happened since and may happen again, but they’ll never feel quite like they did when they were the first time or when there was less to lose and far, far less scar tissue. As I clip past the miles, it becomes clear to me that life experience can have a way of dulling life’s experiences. Like running a marathon, it takes a lot of strength and self-awareness to overcome that mopey thought and figure out new ways to enjoy familiar wonder.

My Old Man and the Sea, and Me

A blackened city looms ahead
With foreboding consequences obvious in the darkness.
Behind us, a bright sky and calm waters and the time I feel we used wisely.
“We would have been home if you hadn’t been so anal,” my old man says.
“It’s better to fix and fully prep your vessel in port,” I reply. “Helps us avoid trouble at sea.” 

The wind arrives in furious fashion.
The knots speed up — they tighten and strengthen.
We’re under motor but that don’t matter none.
The tiny and mighty storm has found our little vessel.
We might as well throw the wheel overboard
For all the good it’s doing.

Long Train Running: A Chicago Marathon Story | Chapter 4 — Why We Run

Jim Von Handorf ran marathons for the same reasons he climbed mountains: to escape and to conquer.

A career fireman in Nashua, New Hampshire, Jim was an outdoorsman to the fullest. He climbed mountains, bouldered, swam, bicycled and ran. His daughter, Amy explains that her dad could never really sit still. That he had a constant need to just go, go, go. He grew up in a small, Boston apartment with a lot of people. The bustling tightness of the city drove him to get out. It was always in his nature to escape. He was into Thoreau and Kerouac. He needed space. So he headed into the wild. His mountaineering expeditions he made with his buddies took him to peaks all over the country where he would test his mettle against the elements and his own limits.

He even showed esophageal cancer that he was not one to go down easy.

The Sinking of Uncle Joe

And, Hey! Uncle Joe worked with Barack Obama!
He’s got black friends. He’s not a racist. Just ask him. 

And he’s not a close-talker or a personal space-invader.
Just ask him.
He’ll put his hands on your shoulders and whisper:
“Hey, now… I’m your Uncle Joe. Remember Obama?” 

Then, sadly, and unexpectedly, before you can answer or squirm away
He’ll say mostly to himself with disappointment, “Yeah… me, too.”

What We Learned from the First Democratic Presidential Debate

Initial media reports are naming Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) as the debate’s winner. More and more, Warren gains favorable ground in my eyes. I like her thoughtful, thorough plans. Yeah, they’re boring and require us to follow the bouncing ball as she walks us through them, but they’re tangible plans, even if she doesn’t repeat them in Spanish.

The biggest difference on the stage last night was not between any of the candidates but the color between Castro’s top and bottom teeth. 

My Grandmother’s Death Presents a Journalistic Regret and a Literary Goldmine

When my grandmother, Joyce Himmel, died on May 11, it marked the end of a very long era. She was just two-and-a-half weeks shy of turning ninety-five. She wasn’t sick, really. A near perfect picture of health and resilience for the better part of a century, in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, her heart just wore out. It was quick and peaceful. Hard to complain about. She had a long and happy and thrilling life.

I could say more, so much more, but this isn’t about Nonny as much as its about her book club.

Long Train Running: A Chicago Marathon Story | Chapter 1 — Ready, Set, Ouch

What was I thinking?

I’m running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Why? Because I’m forty. Because I haven’t run a marathon before. Because I need an excuse to get off my writer’s ass and move so I can live long enough to not die. Because I believe in the mission of Gilda’s Club Chicago and fundraising by running seems to be a pretty great way to get money out of your friends and family. So I am running as a member of Team Gilda.

But my god, I’m behind the ball on this.