Tuesday, December 18, 2007

One down, 19 to go

My first week of marathon training left much to be desired, but I'm consoling myself with the fact that there's still a lot of time before the race. I allowed a couple of things to get in my way of completing all my runs last week and, realistically, I think this month will probably end up being quite a bit less than perfect. It's good to have the plan, though, and much better to give a little effort than to just toss my sneakers in a corner until January.

I'm almost embarrassed to say this, but I really miss being able to play with the dumbbells and barbell and weight bench, oh my. How I resisted it for weeks and weeks! I still have pain in my shoulder, but it's far less than it was before Thanksgiving and certainly not worth commenting on. I'm hoping a couple more weeks of rest will be what it needs to truly and finally heal.

Today's your last chance to enter the drawing for Good Calories, Bad Calories; I'll announce the winner tomorrow morning. I misspoke [mistyped?] when I said I was still reading the prologue; Eisenhower's struggles are described in the first chapter, but I haven't had the time or energy to go any further.

I finished my pink sweater and it fits! I was so surprised; I always think something I knit will be too big or too small. I need to block it and then I'll get a photo up. The strong vertical lines of the cables are very flattering, as is the color, and I know I'll wear this sweater a lot. It'll look good with dress pants or jeans – don't you love it when you find something versatile and flattering at the same time?

Barbra asked in yesterday's comments if there was anything she – or you – could do for the inmates. I can't give any specific information, but I can and do urge you to write to your representatives and senators to let them know how you feel about Draconian drug laws and mandatory minimums. They work for you; they need to know how you feel. This country's war on drugs is a big failure and our tough-on-crime stance has done nothing to reduce prison populations or to effect the successful transition from prison to community.

Along the same lines, vote for people who believe that we need a change in the way we dispense justice. I've long felt and said that convicted felons serve their sentences the rest of their lives, whether they're incarcerated or not. They always have to check that box on employment applications, and they are looked down upon by most of society. The women at Alderson spend their first six months out of prison in halfway houses, which are located on the same block as the drug dealers. They're set up to fail, right out of the gate.

If you know someone coming out of prison, or even know of someone, give him or her a chance. They've been isolated from society for a long time, they frequently have a chip on their shoulder and their job and social skills aren't going to get them very far. They need to learn to accept what is and move forward to what can be, and we need to show them a little kindness and tolerance.

If you've never worked with or known a convicted felon, you might be surprised to learn that many of them – most, in fact – aren't much different from you or me. They made a poor decision, took a wrong turn, usually when they were young and they're often spending the better part of their young adult lives paying for it.

I'm not saying they don't deserve to be punished, and neither are they. They all accept that they could have made better and different choices, and they need to pay for those choices. Our mandatory minimum drug laws are far too harsh and are being applied far too liberally to small-time dealers and users who could probably learn their lesson after six months of prison and a long term on house arrest, where they would still be able to work, take care of their families and contribute to society.

Sorry about that … I'll get off the soapbox now.


M@rla said...

No, I enjoyed your soapbox! I strongly recommend a book called "Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed: A Judicial Indictment Of The War On Drugs." It's by James Gray, a former judge and now California supreme court member (I think). There is no way anyone can accuse this man of promoting, encouraging, or approving of drug use in any way, and even HE is saying "this is not working."

Jess said...

I enjoyed the soapbox too! It's an issue that is rarely addressed (probably because it is not very fancy) but as you say, it is an important issue, and I think you make some insightful points!

As per your marathon training: it will get better and you have a long time before your race. Soon, you won't remember how to run unless your focused on that marathon.

Laura N said...

I think it's great to be so passionate about an important issue like that. I enjoyed reading, too.

Is this your first full marathon? Or are you running the half again? I'm sorry, I can't remember... I know it's the Music City, but is it the half again or the full this time? Just curious. Hope your week is going well.

Lori said...

I agree with Marla, Jess and Laura -- it's a good read and good reasons for us to get in touch with our representatives. It's especially good the day after reading about the talent at Alderman for the contest.

Barbra said...

Thanks for the information about the drug laws and what we should do. I'll get on the move and do some writing!
I love that cap, I may just tackle it.