Beasts of Burden or Wild Things , You Make My Heart (exceed the target rate)

What a crazy world we live in. Just this past week there has been more tragedy than I care to hear about. I do not make it a habit to watch the news, but when it is something of a national nature one tends to hear about it whether they want to or not. In an instant, 295 people aboard Malaysia flight 17 lost their lives. So senseless, so surreal, so ghastly. The fighting in the Middle East with so much bloodshed rages on. Closer to home in Leavenworth, Kansas, there was a kidnapping and a police chase that ended in a confrontation in which a five year old little girl lost her life. Does that disturb you? It does me, especially when there are children involved. Are we becoming desensitized to it all or are we becoming “beasts of burden?”

American Heritage Dictionary defines burden as follows: Noun- 1. a. Something that is carried. b. Something that is difficult to bear physically or emotionally. 2. A responsibility or duty. 3. The amount or weight of the cargo carried by a vessel at one time. Verb- 4. a. The carrying of heavy loads. b. To load or overload. c. To weigh down, oppress.  A beast of burden is an animal used for transporting loads. Do you see where I’m going with this?

I know when I find myself dwelling on this stuff I get a little anxious. According to a study done by Harvard dated 10/19/2011, about 11% of Americans aged 12 or older take antidepressants. The report by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics also says that the rate of antidepressant use in the U.S. has increased nearly 400% since 1988. That was a 23 year period at the time of the study. Since the study is three years old, it would be interesting to know what those numbers are now. With adults barely able to handle this stuff, imagine what it is doing to the children. Are we being overloaded by the weight of the evil in the world (that is, if you believe in evil)? I know as a kid, stuff on the news used to freak me out! Think of the technology that today’s kids are exposed to. There is no escaping hearing/seeing what is going on. Not to mention people/peers talking about it all the time. It saddens me that kids can’t really be kids anymore. Are we doing all we can to lighten their load?

That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo…and it’s worth fighting for.”  -Sam (Lord of the Rings)

I just needed to get that off my chest as it has been weighing on my mind. Confession is good for the soul. While I’m at it, I confess that I really like One Republic and Taylor Swift (don’t hate me), but I digress. So let’s lighten things up a bit shall we? Who knows what target/maximum heart rates are? Okay, I’ll tell ya. A recommended target heart rate is the minimum rate you should exercise at for at least 20-30 minutes to get the best results from aerobic activity. This is 55-85% of your maximum heart rate. A maximum heart rate is a rate you should not exceed. There are several formulas for figuring this. It is easier to go online to a site such as and plug in your age and it does the rest. The only caveat is that it does not take into consideration one’s current physical condition (there’s that age thing again)!

For all intents and purposes, I will just tell you what mine is. Since my maximum heart rate is 170 beats/minute for my youthful age of 50, my target is 93-144 bpm. I confess that I do not routinely wear my heart rate monitor, but I do check my pulse after a run. I am usually in the 140s range, which means I am running about 85% of my max unless…I am chased by a beast-another kind of burdensome beast known as a GOOSE! They annoy me at the lake I run at. They poop all over the trail and they have always just hissed at me on occasion…until last week.

The spawn of satan
The spawn of satan

I had set out to run 15-18 miles and I started a lot later than I like. After the rain and it had become extremely humid and my right piriformis and left quad were tight.  When I made this ending loop (above), I guess the geese were having an “invite only” party and one proceeded to chase me up the hill. I had done 13 miles so after said goose incident, I threw in the towel or rather, the GU (runners will get that). My maximum heart rate was exceeded to the tune of 180 (darn wild goose)!

All they do is eat & poop!
All they do is eat & poop!

THEN today I went to the running store about 30 miles away that is located in a strip mall in a busy part of town. When I pulled out of the parking lot…there they were!

I know they are coming for me!
I know they are coming for me!

They hate me. Remember the movie, “The Birds?” Yeah well, that was a fear burden I didn’t need to carry as a child. That scene were the old guy had his eyes ate out…egads! I can see the headlines now-“Runner mauled by a goose.” Is there an app for that?

Another beast (who can be a burden at times) is my rescue dog Annie the orphan. She is part Chihuahua and part Jack Russell-crazy combination. She’s around 3 years old. That’s the trouble with rescues, you never know for sure. She had a terrible start to life with terrible owners. In short, she doesn’t take a liking to people too well. The vet basically said not to bring her back to board her. The upside to that is that I know that she would defend me to death. The downside-well that’s a no brainer. She doesn’t like strange dogs either except one. It was love at first site. His name is Lucky and he lives up the street. He is a lab mix and she squeals with delight when she sees him and practically gives me whiplash dragging me over to the fence so she can flirt. Silly dog.

Love at first sight
Love at first sight

He’s her “wild thing” or vice versa, I’m not sure which. She is certainly a little on the wild side.

Wild thing you make my my heart sing; you make everything groovy…(The Troggs)

I’m hoping to take a walk on the wild side this week and do some major cleaning out of clutter-you know- “superfluous stuff.” I’m certain the little clutter fairies come at night and reproduce it. Mostly I think how burdensome that would be if I croaked and everyone had to sift (wade) through my junk. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. So I will close my eyes and kiss it goodbye.

Side note- everyone should have an advance directive or at the very least, a durable power of attorney for healthcare. I see it in my profession all the time where people think they are going to live forever and don’t want to deal with those details. You know, “if we don’t mention it, it won’t happen.”  That’s why it is so hard to sell life insurance. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone when it comes to those decisions.

Now before this read becomes burdensome to you, I will end it. Just. like. that.

Until We Meet Again,


No love, no friendship can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever.” -Francois Mauriac












One thought

  1. I personally blame the news for glorifying all the bad things in society and when something good happens it gets little air time, but like you said it’s everywhere and there is no escaping it.People will talk and it’s all over the internet.
    I have never used a heart rate monitor for my runs but I always hear people saying how good they are and how you can help your runs by using one. I may try it once just to see if it works for me.

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