Tag Archives: stanford class

Running, Writing, and Traveling For Life – Episode 14



It’s been another long hiatus between blogs.  My main excuse this time is I took an Advanced Creative Writing class at Stanford this quarter from Professor Nancy Huddleston Packer.  This was by far the best writing experience I have ever had.  We had 18 students in the class and each of us submitted 2 pieces (mostly short stories) during the quarter for critique by the other students.   It was a large writing class, so each of us had to critique 3 or 4 stories each week, plus find time to either do two of our own, either a new one or rewrite an old one. 

The results were incredible!  I think most, if not all, of us read each story several times before we wrote our critiques, which we spoke from in class and then gave them to the writers of the week in class.  The comments were primarily positive and even the negative ones were mostly constructive. 

Professor Packer gave us in class exercises every week, reviewing the fundamentals of powerful writing, and then gave us homework to employ what we learned in class to present the following week.

I would suggest you search for a class of this type near you because I believe this is the best way to learn to write more successfully.  I would also suggest you sign up the moment registration opens up because these classes fill up rapidly.

Anfi Beach Resort, Grand Canary, from the top floor
Anfi Beach Resort, Grand Canary, from the top floor


My wife and I are currently at the Anfi Beach Resort on the southeast coast of Grand Canary Island which is part of Spain.  The Island is in the Atlantic, off the coast of Africa, west of the country of Western Sahara.  We drove over to the town of Playa Del Ingles, caught a glimpse of sand dunes, found a parking lot, and walked over to the beach.  As we stood on the promenade, which was set back from the water’s edge a few hundred meters, it really was as though we were looking at the other end of the Egyptian Sahara, which we visited a few years back.  Huge dunes rose and fell across our field of vision.  A few people appeared to be returning from a trek across the dunes to the water’s edge, and they looked hot and exhausted.


Playa del Ingles
Playa del Ingles

We also drove over to Puerto Del Mogan at what appears to be the end of Highway GC1, the main freeway or dual carriageway on the island.  It’s a bit reminiscent of Venice, with small footbridges over canals which crisscross the oceanfront.  It’s quite picturesque and the choice of restaurants is staggering.  That said, some of them were closed for the month of May which we ultimately discovered was the slowest tourist month of the year.  There’s a lot to be said for that.  And we didn’t starve.

Canal Bridge in Mogan, Grand Canary Island
Canal Bridge in Mogan, Grand Canary Island

We had read on the RCI web site complaints about the lack of view at the Anfi Beach Resort.  They mostly were from those who had rooms with numbers in the 500s.  Our “confirmed” room number was 1027, but more often than not, resorts in the past have ignored the confirmed number and assigned us another room.  It was usually disappointing.  So we expected we would be relegated to a room in the 500s. 

Wow, were we greatly surprised!  We were confirmed in room 1027 which is on the top floor with a great ocean view from a large lanai.  The unit was very spacious with a large living room, bathroom, and bedroom.  The kitchen had a large freezer/refrigerator and cook-top stove and microwave oven.  We were so comfortable and relaxed there that we spent the majority of the time in our rooms.

The fine sandy beach was right in front of the complex, but the water temperature was a bit colder than I expected.  It was very clean and clear, however, and I enjoyed my time in the water, albeit was brief.  The resort has several pools, including a water slide, and we could hear children enjoying themselves and chattering and screaming throughout the day.  Adults played games and did exercises as well.  We watched and listened from the shade and relative quiet from our top floor lanai.

Anfi Beach Resort from the Breakwater
Anfi Beach Resort from the Breakwater

The major language we heard was Spanish of course, but we heard a lot of Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, and British English.  We didn’t hear much American English, probably because the trek to Grand Canary is long and difficult from the U.S.  Hawaii and the Caribbean are much more accessible tropical paradises.

We arrived at Las Palmas Airport one day before we could check into our timeshare, so we stayed at the AC Hotel in Las Palmas, a recent acquisition by Marriott.  The rooms (2 of them) were spacious and comfortable, and their restaurant food was quite good.  The only funny thing was the bathroom basin was slanted down toward you, so anything that could roll that you placed on its surface did roll.

One tip I will pass on that we never noticed before on our European trips.  At both Frankfurt and Las Palmas, you can find out where to find the Airline check in spot from the departure board.  There is a column listing a range on numbers (i.e. 17-21).  This indicates the check-in positions at the Airline counter.  Then look above the ticket counters around you, and you will see numbers.  They are sequentially numbered as you proceed in either direction to make it easier to find.  I know this sounds complex, but it will make sense when you are there.

Another tip to make the trip easier from the U.S. is to connect in Madrid or Barcelona.  The flights to Las Palmas are shorter and more frequent than from Northern European cities.

We’re headed back home, the coming week’s schedule is pretty free, so I plan to update you on my personal work with the power of positive affirmations for running and the rest of your lives.  To refresh your memory on these affirmation please go back to my post of December 19. 2013.    
Link To Affirmations Blog
I have been repeating these and other affirmations daily since that time.  Here are 2 more key affirmations that I have added: 

1.  I enjoy doing my affirmations, and I repeat them daily. 

2.  Affirmations work to improve my life. 

Please look for my next blog soon for concrete examples of what the affirmation process does for me.  Thanks!  





Stanford University Track
Stanford University Track


This working for a living sure gets in the way of life!  I’ve been trying to start this week’s blog all last week, and the next thing I knew it was the middle of the following week.  Anyway I have managed to find time to run, but today comments and observations will be short.

As I have mentioned, I decided to skip this year’s Masters Nationals in Berea, Ohio and focus on a slow rebuild to avoid injury.  But I probably have been pushing a bit too hard, particularly in my cross training at the gym.  On second thought, I overdid golf at the beginning of training resumption, after the long layoff.  That’s when I aggravated my knees.  My trainer modified the glutes, hamstrings, quads, upper body, and core exercises to avoid undue pressure on my knees for several weeks.  This did allow my knees to heal, and now I experience only an occasional twinge.

Then I read in Runner’s World that strengthening inner and outer hip adductor muscles would lead to a more consistent foot landing with each step.  This, in turn, would reduce the stress on your knees.  Therefore this week I did 3 sets of 15 reps each on the inner thigh and outer thigh machines, with probably too much weight.  Both my inner and out adductor muscles were sore for the next 2 days.  I probably should have followed Runner’s World advice and used resistance bands instead of the machines.  Well, live and try to learn!

On the second day, I ran a modified interval program; instead of running 6 x 200 meters at 800 meter race pace, I started with 1 x 400 meters at my 2 mile pace, rested, then 1 x 200 at my 1 mile pace, rested, then 1 x 400 at the 2 mile pace, rested, then finished with 1 x 200 meters at my 800 race pace.  I covered the same distance as 6 x 200 (1200 meters), but at varying speed.  I suppose in a sense it was a form of the Swedish fartlek (literally “playing with speed”).  My right adductor muscle twinged a few times, but it was pretty much okay.

The following day I was quite sore, particularly in my right adductor, so I rested.  I felt better the next morning, with only an occasional pain in my right quad.  By the afternoon that was pain free, so I decided to do a steady run on a hilly 4.32 mile course.  On the long (0.6 mile), steep hill towards the end of the run, I alternated 2 minutes walking, then 2 minutes running for a total of 8 minutes.  My average heart rate was 127 and the peak heart rate 167 when I was going up the steep hill.  My normal peak heart rate is 180.  I felt no pain during the workout, and my “runner’s high” lasted throughout the evening.

I  rested the next day, and then did some sprints the following day.

It’s now the end of the third week.  I have looked back at the past 3 weeks, and I am getting stronger, capable of handling a bit more work each week.  I have been doing intervals, longish run, tempo run, easy day (jogging in the morning and 45 minutes at the gym in the afternoon), and sprints, with 2 rest days each week, over these last 3 weeks.  I probably have pressed a bit too hard, but I seem to be recovering enough so that my aches are not getting any worse.

I will probably do more speed work for the next few weeks, and when the aches are gone, I’ll run an 800 meter time trial to see where I am.  After that, I’ll devote the next few weeks to longer runs if my knees are okay.  Then if all is well, I’ll start my cross country training, with eyes on November 5ks, the Stanford Habitat For Human Home Run and the Race against PH, also at Stanford.

I’m traveling right now and am taking a couple of days off.  I’ll resume tomorrow with short, fast speedwork, and then see how long it takes to recover.  And then I’ll try to post the results next weekend!

Thanks for logging on, and email me at allanwchapman@gmail.com if you have any questions.



One of the most difficult tasks we writers embarks upon is finding someone to review your book.  Our Stanford Class Correspondant read my Thriller, Slaves On Horseback, and wrote in his column that the book was a “good read.”

Now, however, I just received a letter from the Midwest Book Review announcing they were reviewing the book in their February, 2012 online site, http://www.midwestbookreview.com.
Please take a look!

Welcome back for Episode 10 of my Dad’s book, Talking To The World From Pan Am’s Clippers.   Last week we glimpsed at a bit of Pan Am intrigue prior to World War 2.  Today we’ll catch a glimpse of my parent’s romance, marriage and year in Rio.  If you haven’t already listened to my Thriller, Slaves On Horseback, or my Children’s Fantasy Series, Adventures With Mr. Wugidgem and other stories, please return to this home page when you’ve finished listening to today’s Episode.  Then click on the archive button on the top of the home page.   Enjoy!