Pa Does Life

From the road.

17 notes &

Notes from Santa’s Do Life workshop

As I progress gracefully through middle age, I realize that I’m not at all about material possessions anymore.  In fact, I can fit all the stuff I own easily into my car.  It’s probably because I’m so serene and well adjusted, at peace with myself and the world — I just don’t need any external validation achieved through having wealth or property…   Nah…  It’s more likely I’m just trying to take solace in being poor.

I do, however, take great satisfaction in my accomplishments.  Having medals from races hanging on the wall is a daily reminder of the good that’s come from getting my life together, a personal sense of pride that can’t be taken away.

I said all that to say THIS:   I just ordered a new batch of medal hangers, just in time for the Christmas season, and it occurred to me that these are the PERFECT gift for either type of runner in your life:  the one who has everything (except a Do Life medal hanger) and the one who has nothing (and who just wants to bask in the afterglow of races past).  

As an extra incentive to buy a medal hanger as a Christmas gift, we’re adding this bonus:  To the first 50 people who order a hanger, we’ll include a December issue of Runner’s World, signed by none other than our esteemed CEO, who graces the cover.  

Shortly after I make this post I’m going to inform Ben that I’ve made this offer, and hopefully he’ll add information on how exactly to place the orders, because I’m totally ignorant of how that whole process works. (He gave me the link. Here it is.)

One further note:  If you’re considering a Do Life t-shirt for a gift, I strongly urge you to place your order BEFORE December 5th so we’ll have enough time to accommodate you.  

Happy holiday season, and thanks so much for your support.

43 notes &

I have to be especially vigilant this time of year

in order not to unleash the monster that eats everything in sight.

I’d like to say it creeps up on me, and sometimes that’s true, but it’s just as likely to leap out and stage an all out assault — no creeping to it.

I’m not going to steal Meemaw’s thunder, but she’s going to enlighten us soon on the goodness and pleasures of roasted vegetables, a staple of my winter diet.  Add a little brown rice and a small portion of lean meat or other protein…  Photo and recipe coming soon to bedoeslife.  I also love to make a really simple bean soup — low on calories and heavy on cilantro — I’ll share that in the near future (thanks to RDL in Vermont for that).

I know I’m preaching to the choir, but moderation is not my strong suit.  If one is good, a dozen must be better.  Or, as I’ve had to learn the hard way, “one is too many, a thousand never enough.”  It’s easier for me to abstain completely than to give in to a single molasses cookie or piece of apple pie or scoop of ice cream and then try to stop the ensuing avalanche.

When the fellows Tumblrs took Conway, Arkansas by storm a couple of weekends ago, we talked about the trials and tribulations of weight loss, gain, and maintenance, and we generally agreed, I think, that it’s ALL about the eating.  Exercise is awesome and necessary and all that, but there’s an absolutely straight line from the mouth to the stomach to the scale.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

117 notes &

Associated Press — Jonesboro, AR
Former Runner/Ironman/Entrepreneur Hits New Bottom
A recent sighting of Do Life co-founder John “Pa” Davis panhandling in Arkansas has sent minor shock waves through the running community and prompted speculation that the two time Ironman finisher and marathoner may have hung up his running shoes.  
Several motorists in Jonesboro recognized Davis from his numerous appearances on his son’s popular blog, bendoeslife.com.  
"Yeah, I recognized him right off, and I slipped him a couple of bucks," said Ken Jarvis, the bendoeslife follower who snapped the above photo.  "You gotta feel for the guy — he does a lot of the [Do Life] work and gets none of the credit."
Jarvis was referring at least in part to this past summer’s Do Life tour around the country, in which the elder Davis did all the driving and heavy lifting while his son basked in the glory of his new found fame.  ”Not only that, but the Runner’s World comes out and where’s Pa’s picture? Nowhere! I don’t blame the guy for slipping over the edge.”
Runsforherlife, the blogging name of another Do Life fan echoes that sentiment.  ”I’ve been following the Davis boys from the beginning, and I’ve always been sympathetic toward Pa — he’s borne the brunt of so many of Ben’s shenanigans.  I mean the poor guy  quit his job and everything for the cause, and now Ben’s gracing the covers of magazines…  Geez- the least he could do is throw his dad a bone.”
History does indeed record several occasions where the younger Davis has publicly ridiculed his brother and father.  Perhaps most famous is the Father’s Day incident last summer in which Ben called both “tools” on national television.
There is also curiosity in the business world as to whether John Davis’s destitution is indicative of the collapse of the entire empire.  ”Rumors of our demise are completely unfounded,” says Do Life CEO and founder Ben Davis from his worldwide headquarters in Vancouver. And the facts back it up. Sales of merchandise and bookings of speaking engagements have reached an all-time high since Runner’s World cover and story. 
As to his father’s recent slide into homelessness, Davis could only say this:  ”I honestly don’t know what’s going on with him. I mean as much as I love him, his grip on reality has always been tenuous at best.  Hopefully he’ll bounce back soon — I’m counting on him to ship t-shirt orders and write chapter eight of the book.  What can I say? I guess it’s just Pa being Pa.  He’s done sh*t like this before”
The official comment from third co-founder Jed Davis was short and to the point.
"Please don’t associate me with those two."

Associated Press — Jonesboro, AR

Former Runner/Ironman/Entrepreneur Hits New Bottom

A recent sighting of Do Life co-founder John “Pa” Davis panhandling in Arkansas has sent minor shock waves through the running community and prompted speculation that the two time Ironman finisher and marathoner may have hung up his running shoes.  

Several motorists in Jonesboro recognized Davis from his numerous appearances on his son’s popular blog, bendoeslife.com.  

"Yeah, I recognized him right off, and I slipped him a couple of bucks," said Ken Jarvis, the bendoeslife follower who snapped the above photo.  "You gotta feel for the guy — he does a lot of the [Do Life] work and gets none of the credit."

Jarvis was referring at least in part to this past summer’s Do Life tour around the country, in which the elder Davis did all the driving and heavy lifting while his son basked in the glory of his new found fame.  ”Not only that, but the Runner’s World comes out and where’s Pa’s picture? Nowhere! I don’t blame the guy for slipping over the edge.”

Runsforherlife, the blogging name of another Do Life fan echoes that sentiment.  ”I’ve been following the Davis boys from the beginning, and I’ve always been sympathetic toward Pa — he’s borne the brunt of so many of Ben’s shenanigans.  I mean the poor guy  quit his job and everything for the cause, and now Ben’s gracing the covers of magazines…  Geez- the least he could do is throw his dad a bone.”

History does indeed record several occasions where the younger Davis has publicly ridiculed his brother and father.  Perhaps most famous is the Father’s Day incident last summer in which Ben called both “tools” on national television.

There is also curiosity in the business world as to whether John Davis’s destitution is indicative of the collapse of the entire empire.  ”Rumors of our demise are completely unfounded,” says Do Life CEO and founder Ben Davis from his worldwide headquarters in Vancouver. And the facts back it up. Sales of merchandise and bookings of speaking engagements have reached an all-time high since Runner’s World cover and story. 

As to his father’s recent slide into homelessness, Davis could only say this:  ”I honestly don’t know what’s going on with him. I mean as much as I love him, his grip on reality has always been tenuous at best.  Hopefully he’ll bounce back soon — I’m counting on him to ship t-shirt orders and write chapter eight of the book.  What can I say? I guess it’s just Pa being Pa.  He’s done sh*t like this before”

The official comment from third co-founder Jed Davis was short and to the point.

"Please don’t associate me with those two."

57 notes &

This probably doesn’t happen to anyone else,

but sometimes I find myself distracted to the point of almost frenzied frozen-ness.  I’ve got so much to do and think about that I can’t do any of it.  I feel like I can’t do anything until everything’s done.  I’ve heard ad nauseum that the only thing to do is the next right thing, but my mind gets so cluttered I can’t distinguish it from all the wrong things.

This morning, during a self-induced fit of desperation and indecision, I remembered a passage Anne Lamott wrote in Bird By Bird that describes this phenomenon perfectly.  She suggests looking at the world through a one inch picture frame, as that helps her clarify and narrow her writing focus. 

I wasn’t even looking necessarily to write, but I took a look anyway.  I saw a mostly clear, blue sky, a light autumn wind rustling through brightly colored leaves, temperatures in the low 60’s;  took a breath and imagined the scent of cooler weather advancing, pushed closer by a distant front.  Saw myself running through that landscape and stepped out and did exactly that.

Thought of the end of an Updike novel as my mind unraveled, as it followed my feet through this perfect fall day:

Ah: Runs.  Runs.

65 notes &

Why I run…

I know - nobody asked me, but I thought I’d throw my 2 cents in, as long as everyone else is.

I run to stay in shape, to keep my weight down, for the camaraderie of enjoying life with my sons and other friends, for the rejuvenation of mind and spirit that comes with getting my blood pumping.

I didn’t realize until recently that I’ve also been running back through time, revisiting the past by running the roads and paths of my childhood home.

I think that part of what I was doing in Vermont the past 3 years was an attempt to see if it was still home — to reconnect with the idyllic image of my youth, to bring some faded memories into sharper focus.  Running gave me physical contact with the land and kindled intense emotional journeys.

To reminisce is to reassure, and running over the hard-packed dirt roads, past stone walls and apple orchards was reaching back and touching that time, breathing the same air.

I left secure in the knowledge that even if it wasn’t still my home, it always would be the home of those treasured memories.

Perhaps I run in part to solve some of life’s mysteries.

Maybe you can’t go home again, but you can run through it.

54 notes &

to paraphrase Garrison Keillor…

…it’s been an eventful week in my hometown…

Ben and I spoke to a great crowd in Jonesboro, and afterwards enjoyed a walk/run and a meal with local Do Lifers.  Many thanks to Kim P., Nicole F., Jennifer M. and my own Terry B. for all they did to coordinate that event.

Boot camp every morning, 5:15 to 6

With Ben being in town, I surrendered the Do Life mobile to the cause, and found myself pedaling 120 miles to the Soaring Wings/Tumblr weekend extravaganza.  It was awesome to see so many of you we met on the summer tour.  Hope y’all enjoyed your Arkansas weekend.

After a somewhat stiff 13.1 and a belated 21st birthday lunch for daughter Laura, I pedaled most of the way home.  The ride was called on account of darkness, but still managed to do 200+ miles with a half marathon sandwiched in the middle in about 30 hours or so.

Started an informal Do Life Run/Walk clinic for anyone who wants to engage in a little camaraderie and fight the upcoming holiday bulge.  We’re meeting several mornings and evenings a week in Jonesboro — hope to expand into other places soon.  No charge, of course — because running should always be free…

Meemaw and Charlotte survived the Great Halloween Blizzard of ‘11 in fine fashion.  Despite still not having electricity, she reports they’re feeling pretty smug, having plenty of firewood, a propane-fired stove to cook on, running water and the resumption of home delivery of the New York Times, when so many others are without.

Drove 1200 miles in the past day and a half — met a couple of fellow Tumblrs along the way, revisited old Panera haunts, and watched Ben do a heck of a performance in east Tennessee — shades of summer past.

Got home and got a call from Barnes and Noble, letting me know the extra copies of Runner’s World I ordered special were in. Ben thinks I’m weird for getting extras.  As usual, I care not a whit what he thinks.

So, with apologies to Garrison, I invoke poetic license, and post these few sparse notes from my hometown, where the women are good-looking, the men are occasionally strong, and the children are, from time to time, above average…

19 notes &

No way to go but forward

Lately I’ve been waking up really early and having trouble falling back to sleep - yet another of those age-related phenomena old folks take great pleasure in telling me about. Probably some of my fitful sleep is due to the upcoming 52-52-52 tour, which, while very exciting, is also fraught with a measure of uncertainty — just minor things like: will my body hold up? will we be able to afford it? will my body hold up?

This morning, as I lay there in a semi-awake dream state, a scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid played through my head.  To make it extra weird — and a little frightening — Ben played Paul Newman’s Butch and I was Robert Redford’s Sundance.

Being chased by 6 of the toughest lawmen of the time, Butch and Sundance find themselves perched high atop a cliff — a hundred foot fall into a small river canyon in front of them, a rock face to their backs. 

Sundance (me):  You’re the brains. You’ll think of something.

Butch (Ben): Well, the way I figure it, we can either fight or go to jail.

S: I’ve been there already.

B: Well, if we fight, they’ll starve us out… or get a rock slide started and get us that way.  What else can they do?

S:  They could surrender to us, but I wouldn’t count on it.

—They prepare for the inevitable showdown—

S:  Ready?

B: No.  We’ll jump.

S.  Like hell we will.

B:  It’ll be OK.  If the water’s deep enough and we don’t get squished to death.  They’ll never follow us.  

S: How do you know?

B:  Would you make a jump like that if you didn’t have to?

S:  I have to and I’m not gonna.

B:  Well, we’ve got to.  Otherwise we’re dead.

S:  No.

B:  Then you jump first.

S:  No, I said!

B: What’s the matter with you?

S:  I can’t swim!!!!

—Butch is overcome by hysterical laughter—

B:  Are you crazy??!  The fall’ll probably kill you!!

At this point our heroes take deep breaths, and in shivery voices say, in unison:

Wwwww  whwhwh  whooooooooaaaaa   SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTT!!!!!!!!!!!

as they jump off the cliff.

It doesn’t take Sigmund Freud to figure out the significance of that dreamlike episode.

19 notes &

deja vu

in which yesterday’s chore became reminiscent of last year’s Great Mushroom Debacle

I was finishing up Meemaw’s wood pile when she came over to monitor progress.  She was sidetracked momentarily by some fungal matter on the tree that holds up one end of the stack of firewood.

Hmmm…, she said.  Isn’t that interesting….  

She leaned in for closer inspection.  I’ll bet it’s edible…   

She glanced over at me, innocently leaning against my axe.

I guess I’ll just forget it…