Sue is gone for the weekend, so you know what that means: Time to watch a movie that she would never sit through! Tonight was “Remembrance,” a film suggested by my sister Angie for our family’s movie club. Just a note that there are several spoilers coming up.

I thoroughly enjoyed “Remembrance,” as it incorporated several subjects that I usually find quite interesting. World War II, and especially anything to do with the Nazis. Lost love, found again. Scenes which bring tears to the eye. Scenes which have the viewer on the edge of the seat with suspense. “Remembrance” had all of these things!

Tomasz is a Polish political prisoner being held in a Nazi concentration camp in 1944. Hannah, a young Jewish woman, is in the same camp. Even in the most unlikely of places for a romance, these two somehow fall in love.

The movie jumps forward to 1976, where we see Hannah living in New York with a husband and daughter. She was told years ago by the Red Cross that Tomasz didn’t survive the war, but when she briefly sees a man on television that resembles Tomasz, talking about falling in love in a Nazi concentration camp, her world is shaken.

The movie jumps back and forth between the two years, telling two stories at the same time. The 1944 version is full of edge of your seat excitement as the two escape from the camp and get chased around the Polish countryside by the Nazis. The 1976 version shows Hannah pursuing the hope that Tomasz may be alive which threatens everything she holds dear.

The 1944 story eventually ends with both Hannah and Tomasz being very much alive while believing the other was dead. The film then turns to 1976 for a series of emotional scenes that left me in tears. Hannah makes contact with Tomasz over the telephone. Hannah travels to Poland to see Tomasz. The two see each other from across the parking lot, and the movie ends.

It was a brilliant way to end the movie, in my opinion. Sensible, reasonable people can imagine that Hannah will simply catch up with her old friend, then fly back to New York and resume her life as it was. Romantic people (like me) just know that the two have to end up together. There is enough evidence given during the film to support both conclusions, so every viewer can go home happy.

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Jocelyn’s First Race

When you run as many miles as I do, those around you notice. Sometimes it makes them uncomfortable, but sometimes it makes them want to join in. When a loved one wants to join you for a run, that is simply one of the best things there is about running! This summer I’ve enjoyed the company of my wife Sue, my son Carl, my niece Ana, my nephew Danny, my nephew August, and my brother Jeff for some great runs.

Today I got yet another loved one to join me for a run when my 11 year old niece Jocelyn joined me for the Boo Bees 5K in East Grand Forks. The Boo Bees 5K has been going on for several years now as a fund raiser for the American Cancer Society under the careful guidance of my friend Denae, who just happens to be a two time survivor of the cursed disease. As always, there were several members of Red River Runners present to offer support to our longtime friend!
Boo Bees 2015 RRR
Sue and Ana had been planning on doing this race for a few weeks, and it was great when Jocelyn said she wanted to join us. She told me she had been training for several days now and felt ready to tackle her first race!

Sue and Ana were planning on running together like they had during the Wild Hog 5K a few weeks earlier, and I was going to run with Jocelyn. The two if us discussed race strategy for a few minutes before the start and planned on beginning slow. We warmed up with a few stretches and a little jogging around the parking lot before lining up behind the starting line.

When the gun went off, Jocelyn took off faster than I thought she would, but she also held the fast pace longer than I thought possible. We made it over a half mile before my little running buddy told me she had to walk. After walking about 10 seconds, she was ready to go again, so off we went. We continued along the course in similar fashion, running for a few minutes, then walking for a few seconds.

Jocelyn did fantastic, finishing in 33 minutes and 37 seconds, and even had enough energy at the end to leave her uncle in the dust! When she turned around to watch me finish, I could see the excitement in her eyes, and I knew this wouldn’t be her last 5K! While we all cooled down and enjoyed some finisher food a few minutes later my little niece was already asking her mom when she could run another. I will never tire of watching the next generation of runners enjoying this great family sport!
Boo Bees 2015 All

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The Martian

When I was in the Twin Cities this last weekend, Sue’s family took us to see “The Martian.” I like Matt Damon, and I had planned to see this movie eventually, so going on opening weekend, and viewing it while eating lunch at The Marcus Theater in Oakdale made the whole experience extra special! Thanks Nancy and Jim!

In the near future, Americans travel to Mars to conduct an extended scientific expedition. A storm arrives with little advance notice and threatens their escape ship to the point where they need to immediately abandon their mission and return to Earth. The botanist, Mark Watney (Damon), is hit by a flying antenna in the heat of the storm and he ends up being left for dead by his team. The entire movie centers around Mark’s struggle to survive on the desolate Martian surface. I will try not to give away any spoilers during this brief review.

I had feared that most of the film would be Matt Damon talking to himself just like Tom Hanks did in “The Castaway,” but I was pleasantly surprised. “The Martian” included a large cast of well-developed characters and they added much depth to the story.

It was refreshing to watch Mark Watney use a sharp sense of humor and his intellect to battle his problems instead of fists and guns like most current heroes do. When catastrophic events threatened him over and over again, he doesn’t throw his hands in the air and give up like most of us would; he takes hold of his emotions, makes a plan and starts fixing the problem, improvising as he goes along. I want to be more like Mark Watney!

When I thought about the story over the last couple of days, it occurred to me that there weren’t any “bad guys.” There were loads of bad things happening to good people, and many people argued about what to do, but it was amazing that not a single person ended up looking bad at the end.

Lastly, “The Martian” made a bold statement about international cooperation. In an age where people don’t trust anyone outside their own borders, “Martian” wants its audience to believe that a single event can unite us all, even if for just a few minutes. Deep inside my soul I want to believe that the good in mankind will always eventually triumph over the bad. “The Martian” left me with hope that maybe someday we will be able to see past are differences and work together to forge a better world! Let me tell you: That’s not a bad way to leave a theater!

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2015 Twin Cities Marathon

Twin Cities 2015 Finish

“As a marathoner, if you take 26.2 miles for granted, you will have a bad day.”
Steve Wagner

I woke up Sunday morning in my Twin Cities Hotel and like I do before every marathon, I began fighting the little voice in my head. Those of you who have run a marathon know what I’m talking about. Did I train hard enough? Will that muscle or tendon that has been giving me issues flare up today? Will the clothing I select for the race keep me warm/cool enough? Did I eat well enough during the past couple of days? What can possibly go wrong that I haven’t already worried about?

I lined up at the starting line and for the first time ever, I told myself I wasn’t physically capable of a personal record (PR), and I believed it. I hadn’t done any strength training since Grandma’s Marathon in June. I was at least 8 pounds heavier than I was last year at this time. I’m usually extremely focused, but September had been full of distractions (some good), and I felt mentally unprepared. I had told myself that I couldn’t do it, and I believed it: The little voice had won!

I then took consolation in the fact that this was my 10th marathon. I ran all of the previous ones as hard as I could, so why not make this one sort of a victory lap? After struggling through my first four marathons to break the 4 hour barrier, I had been under 4 hours for the last five. Yes, I would be able to take it easy and still finish in under 4 hours and I would simply enjoy the entire race experience this time around.

I was a veteran marathon runner but I had already allowed the little voice to win: Now I was taking it for granted that I could complete 26.2 miles! It was going to be a long day…

As always happens to me during the Twin Cities marathon, my Garmin GPS watch can’t give me accurate readings though the first mile because of the sky scrapers, so I end up running a little too fast. Miles 5-7 were spent getting my running clothes squared away as a couple of chafe spots were already beginning to form. It’s not easy running while trying to rotate spandex briefs!

By mile 9 my feet already felt like they had completed 26 miles and I made a mental note to replace my racing shoes more frequently. I had already seen at least a half dozen spectators holding signs asking “Why are YOU running today,” and it bothered me greatly that I really didn’t have an answer. I stopped into a porta-potty about that time and while I stood in the relative darkness and inhaled the citrus deodorizer, I did a little self-examination. Runners need something deep inside to latch onto in order to make it through a marathon and at the moment I had nothing: I realized how unfocused and unprepared I really was.

I reached the halfway point in 1:52:04. I was on pace for a marathon PR, even with the porta-potty stop, but I was already hitting a wall. I walked through my first water stop at mile 14, and I knew there would be much more walking before the day was through. My feet were screaming at me to stop, but they weren’t too happy about walking either. At mile 16 I began walking about 15 seconds every few minutes, a strategy I would mostly continue through the rest of the race.

I received a huge dose of encouragement when my friends Martin and Robyn passed me about mile 23. Martin patted me on the back and urged me to keep running. Three years ago, Martin had come to the Twin Cities to help me break the 4 hour barrier by running at my side for the entire race, and today, he was doing the exact same thing with Robyn! Robyn looked focused and determined, and I knew she was finally going to do it. I wanted so badly to continue with them, but after a half mile or so, I had to stop and walk again.

I somehow made it to the finish line and completed my 10th marathon in 4 hours, 13 minutes, and 2 seconds; my slowest time in 4 years. Robyn broke the four hour barrier for the first time, as did my friend Matt, and I know from personal experience they must be extremely happy. As for me, I was once again reminded how brutal a marathon can be and how physically and mentally prepared one must be to complete it. I took 26.2 miles for granted and while I didn’t necessarily have a bad day, I know I must be better prepared in the future.

I often tell friends that any marathon finished is a successful one, and I certainly feel that way about my 10th. Yesterday’s Twin Cities finish was satisfying and I plan on savoring it for a few weeks before I take what I learned from the experience and begin training for number 11!

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Pace the Race 2015

Wild Hog 2.20 Pacer 2015
As a member of Red River Runners for the last 6 years, I’ve made many friends in the Grand Forks Running community. I’ve often said that I believe RRR is the finest group of people I’ve ever been associated. My running friends are always fun to be around, but perhaps more importantly, they are a continuous source of encouragement.

Training and running races are loads of fun, but most of us at Red River Runners also volunteer at many of the local events in an attempt to encourage other runners. I’ve worked with beginners for a few years now and it’s always rewarding watching them finish their first race. My heart swells with pride when I find that they are still running years later. I’ve also volunteered to work as a pacer for the Grand Forks Wild Hog Half Marathon.

For those of you who don’t know what a pacer is, allow me to explain. The best strategy for running any kind of distance race is to run a steady, consistent pace through the entire distance. This can be extremely challenging for even the most experienced runners, so many of the larger races seek volunteers to help race participants. I volunteered to run as the 2:20 pacer, which means I’m supposed to finish the race in just under 2 hours and 20 minutes. This works out to 10 minutes and 41 seconds per mile average, so my task is to run each mile as close to that time as possible while holding a steady pace. Pacers carry signs on dowels so participants know which pace they are running.

The Wild Hog Half Marathon used 11 pacers this year running at various finishing times between 1:35 and 3:30. My chiropractor, Dr. Carson Muth of Plains Chiropractic, sponsored us and purchased some great racing singlets for us to wear!
Wild Hog Pacers 2015
While I stood in the starting corral waiting to begin, a few racers came up and said they hoped to remain in my general vicinity throughout the race. Most I hadn’t met before, but my friend Gene from Northwood, along with his daughter Kristina, I had paced last year.

We started out and during the first few miles I learned that Kristina has paced dozens of races, and 2:20 was her favorite! She did say however, that they hoped to finish this race a little faster, so they gradually pulled away and eventually left me behind. Nobody was running by my side after that, but I could tell a few were still trailing me a few yards back. I kept the little group behind me through mile 7, and Sue got this picture of me calculating my mile split as I passed the mile marker.
Wild Hog 2.20 Pacer 2015 Mile 7
I crossed the Point Bridge into Minnesota next, and as I headed south, into a brutal head wind, I slowly lost my pace group one by one. I entered back into North Dakota a few miles later all by myself: All of the runners I had passed while in Minnesota were too exhausted from the wind to keep up with me.

As I left the Greenway and returned to the streets on Belmont Road, some of the tired runners I passed during the next few miles began staying with me. The 2:20 pace group was back in business and I was thrilled! We came through the trees and I knew that in a block we would be turning back into the wind for the final half mile sprint to the finish line. I turned around to the half dozen tired runners behind me and yelled “I want all of you to pass me as we round this corner and finish strong! You all can be under 2 hours and 20 minutes if you finish strong! I know you can do it!” They all did as I asked and took off with a new determination in their eyes! The end was in sight!

I encountered four more runners down that final half mile and yelled the same encouragement as I drew even with them. I wasn’t leaving anyone behind me!

I completed the 13.1 miles in 1 hour, 19 minutes, and 54 seconds; six seconds under my goal time! But what made me even happier was that all of the tired runners I had encouraged at the end had finished under 2:20! The best part of the morning however, was when Heather Gilbert, one of the runners I had encouraged down the stretch, thanked me on Facebook! Pacing this year’s race was a great experience!
Wild Hog 2.20 Pacer 2015 Finish

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Carl’s First Half Marathon

Carl's First Half Marathon
I’ve been a runner for almost seven years. You can’t train for as many races as I have without the support of those close to you. I’m frequently tired after weeks of high mileage running, and when work becomes more demanding than usual, I can become cranky. Unfortunately, Sue and Carl are the ones that suffer because of it. I often tell them that the great feeling you get after even one good run makes it all worthwhile, but when I suggest that they try it too, they just shrug and politely say “No Thanks!”

Carl has set his focus on weight lifting and he’s become quite good at it. The plan that he follows calls for a period of bulking followed by a period of cutting, so when he began his recent cut in weight, he decided to incorporate some running into his routine. I was so excited to have someone else in my home running, and even though we didn’t frequently run together, we shared our stores of success and defeat, and as any runner knows, that made us “running buddies.”

Carl trained for the Firecracker 5K, and we ran it together, filling my father’s heart with pride! His next scheduled bulking period was in mid-September, so almost immediately he began talking about training for a 10K. Looking at the calendar, though, we didn’t find any 10Ks in early September. The Dick Beardsley half marathon, however, did catch his attention, and since I’ve run the race the previous 3 years, that was the one we decide to do.

Carl and I spent hours talking about training for a half marathon, and as he progressed through the most difficult training runs, his confidence grew quickly. His initial goal was to complete the race in under 2 hours (2:00). After a successful long tempo run, he wanted to shoot for under 1:50. After he completed an 11 mile progression run, he wanted to shoot for under 1:45. After another few weeks of training, he began wondering if 1:40 was possible.

Last Saturday, a father and his son lined up at the start of the Dick Beardsley Half Marathon in Detroit Lakes Minnesota. The weather was perfect and we both felt great.

We began in front of the 1:50 pace group, but within 2 miles we were right behind the 1:45 group. We followed for a mile, then I asked Carl if he wanted to go around them. He shook his head no so we settled in. At mile 5, Carl was right beside the pacer, and I was a few feet behind, to his side. As the mile progressed, Carl inched in front of the pacer so I whipped around to his left and felt it my duty to put a little comfortable distance between us and the pace group. I sped up to a 7:45 pace and Carl looked good, so we stayed there. Mile 7 included a steep, short uphill, followed by a long downhill stretch. We slowed going up, sped up going down, and ended up averaging 7:45 though the mile, although Carl looked pretty tired. He asked to slow down, telling me he just wanted to average under an eight minute pace for the rest of the race, so that’s what we did for the next two miles.

We reached mile 10 and I encouraged Carl by telling him we only had a 5K remaining. My son appeared reenergized so we picked up the pace a little and mile 11 was 7:56. Mile 12 was back down to 7:46 and Carl had that determined look on his face so I let him set the pace for the final mile. We flew through the city of Detroit Lakes towards the finish line averaging 7:28 during mile 13. Carl surged through the finish tube with an official time of 1 hour, 43 minutes, and 54 seconds!

Running my ninth half marathon in Detroit Lakes on a picture perfect September morning? $85. Crossing the finish line with my son? Priceless!

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The Railway Man

I recently received “A Railway Man” from Netflix and watched it this weekend. I like to catch movies that have been nominated for Academy Awards because quite frequently the stories are complex and deep and I find myself thinking about the movie days and even weeks after viewing it. “Railway Man” is such a movie: It will both haunt and lift me up for some time.

“Railway Man” is based on the true story of Eric Lomax, a British officer who served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. The movie takes place in the 1970’s, but as Lomax’s story unfolds, there is considerable time spent flashing back to the 1940’s which necessitated the need to have two actors share the leading role. Colin Firth portrayed the older Lomax while Jeremy Irvine was cast as the World War II version.

The movie opens with Lomax meeting a lady named Patti, played by one of my favorite actresses, Nicole Kidman. Lomax courts and marries Patti, but soon she begins to see an extremely frightening side of her husband. The audience understands that he is having flashbacks to the war, but Patti simply sees the man she loves suffering terribly. Patti is a nurse and wants to help, but Lomax is incapable of opening up to anyone, including his friends from the war.

Patty finally convinces Lomax’s best friend Finlay to tell her what happened. Finlay shares how their group of soldiers had been taken prisoner by the Japanese and forced to work as slave laborers building the Burma Railroad. Lomax had managed to build a radio and had shared stories of Allied victories with other prisoners of war, boosting their morale. The Japanese eventually discover the radio and Lomax had stepped forward to take the punishment. He was brutally beaten in front of his friends, and then taken away for further interrogation.

Lomax is subjected to torture at the hands of the Kempetai, the Japanese secret police, whom are fixated on believing that his radio receiver also had the ability to transmit messages to Allied forces. All of the questions come through a young interpreter named Nagase, who becomes the face Lomax continually sees in his nightmares. The audience isn’t made aware of how long the torture goes on, but it does witness Lomax’s rescue by Allied forces.

Finlay eventually tells Patti that he has proof that Nagase had survived the war, and was working as a tour guide in Burma. He tells her that she can use the knowledge as she sees fit because it will either help heal Lomax or push him over the limit. She shows the newspaper clips to her husband and he tells her that he and his unit had vowed to kill Nagase if they ever found he had survived. Lomax mulls over how to use the information. Patti suggests that he simply let go of the hate, but he’s unsure if he can do it, even after 30 years.

Finlay had experienced tremendous guilt at having been Lomax’s superior officer and being unable to protect him from the Kempetai. I suspect his failure to act on the unit’s pledge to kill Nagase had also taken its toll, but for whatever reason, Finlay is tired of suffering and ends up committing suicide. Finlay’s death spurs Lomax to action and he heads to Southeast Asia to murder Nagase.

Lomax shows up at the site of his World War II torture and discovers it has been turned into a war museum. He witnesses Nagase speaking to a tour group and later, as Nagase locks up for the evening, Lomax sneaks inside.

Lomax confronts Nagase who quickly remembers him from 30 years earlier. Lomax plans to first torture Nagase but it comes as a surprise when Nagase puts up no resistance. Through a series of statements it becomes evident that Nagase, like Lomax, was being tormented by his memories of the war. Perhaps it was Nagase’s agreement that he deserved and even welcomed torture and death, or maybe it was Lomax’s compassion, but for whatever the reason, Lomax couldn’t go through with his plans and went home.

Nagase sends a letter to Lomax asking for, but not expecting, his forgiveness. Lomax is moved and tells Patti that he wants to go back, but that he wants her to go with him this time. Upon arrival, Patti confesses that she wouldn’t have survived one day in the dreadful place. Lomax and Nagase meet symbolically in the middle of the road and Nagase, in true Japanese tradition, bows to Lomax. Nagase asks for forgiveness and begins weeping. Lomax, in true British tradition, stands stoically for a few moments before he too breaking into sobs. The two men embrace each other and it’s at that moment you understand how the power of forgiveness can set you free.

Many stories have been told about how war damages the lives of all who survive, but I can’t think of any that have told how soldiers continue to suffer for the remainder of their lives. We always like to think that things will get better with time, but I fear that for many veterans, that isn’t the case. Simply talking about the past is the best way to shake loose of its power, but that is extremely difficult for most men.

“Railway Man” does touch on the role family and friends play in helping heal the emotional wounds of war, and I found it both puzzling and powerful. Patti continually attempts to get her husband to talk about the war, but he simply can’t. His fellow soldiers remain his closest friends even 30 years after the war, but none of them will talk about their past experiences with him either. Both his wife and friends are there for him, and want the best for him, but the battle in his mind is his alone, and it’s he who must deal with it. Some, like Finlay, can’t live with their memories. Some, like Lomax, face their nightmares and become stronger because of it. Most, however, continue to suffer somewhere in between.

The final scene of “Railway Man” perhaps captures the role of family the best, and was the one that brought the most tears to my eyes. Patti and Lomax are snuggled in bed when Patti confides that she was scared that Lomax would end up like Finlay. Lomax simply tells her that would never happen. Patti asks him how he could be so sure, and he replies with no hesitation: “Because I have you.”

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Dr. Zhivago

My family has started a movie review club. Members take turns selecting a movie for everyone to watch, then we discuss it on Face Book. Our family has always been crazy about movies because of our Mother’s love for everything Hollywood: This promises to be a fun activity.

The current selection is “Dr. Zhivago,” one of our father’s all-time favorites. While Mom was always talking about movies and movie stars, Dad had a deep fascination with everything Russian. I’ve long suspected that Dad’s interest with Russian history stemmed from his service in the US Army during the hottest portion of the “Cold War.” Somehow his interest rubbed off on me, so when I had an opportunity to take 20th century Russian history as an elective during my studies at North Dakota State, I jumped at the chance.

“Zhivago” was released in 1965, when the US and its allies were at the height of their cold war with the Soviet Union. Communism was trying to spread across the globe thanks to the Warsaw Pact Nations, while the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) tried to stop them. While shots were fired in distant places like Korea and Vietnam, propaganda was the weapon frequently used closer to home on both sides of the Atlantic. “Zhivago” is an excellent example of such propaganda.

When I took my course in Russian History, the professor opened the subject by telling us the Russian mindset can be best described as: You’re born, you work hard, you suffer greatly, and then you die. The Russian people have suffered much during the 20th century, but they take great pride in their ability to persevere. Happiness is fleeting and usually viewed with skepticism when it does try to enter into a Russian’s life. “Zhivago,” which is a story written by the Russian author Boris Pasternak, represents all these beliefs well.

While the role of Yuri Zhivago, played by Omar Sharif, is considered central to the movie, I feel the role of Lara, played by Julie Christie, is far more interesting and I will devote my thoughts to her. Lara’s life is the true tragedy of “Zhivago.”

Lara is only 17 years old, but her beauty has already caught the attention of her mother’s friend and lover, Victor. Her mother attempts suicide, Victor rapes her, then she is rescued by the brooding revolutionary Pasha, whom she marries. Pasha goes off to war leaving Lara with a daughter. Lara is but a young woman, but has already endured much suffering!

Lara leaves her daughter behind and volunteers as a nurse in an attempt to get closer to the fighting and perhaps hear of her husband. She is told that Pasha is dead but continues on, meeting the young doctor Yuri Zhivago in the process. She and Yuri fall in love, but since Yuri is already married, they resist their passionate urges. It is probably fair to note that Yuri is married to a woman named Tonya. Yuri was orphaned as a boy and taken in by friends of the family, whose daughter was Tonya. While marriages to relatives were common at the time, and Tonya wasn’t even a blood relative, I still feel that Yuri couldn’t have felt any deep passion for a woman raised as his sister.

After the war, Lara takes her daughter to live in the country, and quite by coincidence, Yuri and his family end up nearby. Lara appears to be enjoying her simple life when Yuri finds her and she is perhaps at peace for the first time in the story. Her life is once again turned upside down however, by her sudden desire for Yuri. They begin an affair, but a few months later, when Tonya is close to delivering her and Yuri’s second child, Yuri decides to end it. Lara is devastated but accepting of Yuri’s decision. She is once again the perfect Russian heroine!

Yuri disappears, leaving both Lara and Tonya wondering what happened. Yuri has been conscripted into the Red Army but after serving faithfully for some time, he takes the opportunity to desert, when it arises, and returns home. He is saddened to find Tonya and his two children gone, but when Lara tells him they have escaped to Paris, he decides to remain with Lara. If you were hoping this would make for a happy ending, you have forgotten this was a Russian tale.

It turns out Pasha was alive all this time. His story is complex, and important to “Zhivago, but as far as Lara is concerned, let’s just say he became an enemy of the state. When an enemy of the state was executed in Russia, his entire family was executed along with him (See Czar Nicholas)!

Lara discovers that Pasha had been executed and knows that the communists will eventually find her and execute her as well. Yuri is a deserter from the Red Army and knows that he too will eventually end up in front of a firing squad. They decide to live together in the country until their pasts catch up to them.

Eventually there is the dreaded knock on the door. They cower in fear only to learn that it is Victor, the man that had raped Lara when she was seventeen. He is offering Lara and her daughter a chance to escape, but they are so sickened by the man that they vehemently refuse. Eventually Yuri persuades Lara to leave him but she only agrees because she knows she is carrying his child. Yuri never finds out about Lara’s pregnancy. I can’t imagine what was going through Lara’s mind as she leaves the man she loves only to be saved by one as despicable as Victor.

Lara has Yuri’s daughter, whom she names Tanya, but they somehow become separated when Tanya is a young girl. Yuri does somehow get out of his predicament in the country, and with the help of a friend, eventually returns to work as a doctor.

So, both Lara and Yuri survive the revolution but lose track of each other (again). As the movie nears its end, an elderly Yuri sits on a train, and spots Lara walking on the sidewalk. Is it true? Can this Russian story end somewhat happily? Yuri scrambles off the train, and begins running down the street after Lara. He suddenly grabs his chest and falls dead of a massive heart attack!

“Dr. Zhivago,” like most good Russian tales ends sadly. Lara, my favorite character is the classic Russian in that she perfectly fulfilled the description: You’re born, you work hard, you suffer greatly, and then you die.

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Heart Breaker


I’ve been a huge fan of Pat Benatar’s music since 1980 and we had tickets to see her live, tonight, in concert at the Moorhead Bluestem Amphitheater. Yesterday, though, she announced that her husband and lead guitar player Neil Giraldo had undergone emergency eye surgery over the weekend and they were canceling a few shows, including the one in Moorhead.

Unfortunately this has happened to us before. Last fall we had tickets to see Cher and Pat Benatar in Fargo. Cher became ill, so they pushed the date back to February. OK, that wasn’t a problem, we would go in February. Cher’s condition didn’t improve however, and she remained unable to perform so she canceled the rest of her (and Pat’s) tour.

And it happened before that too! Pat was coming to Minot for the North Dakota State Fair in 2011 and we purchased tickets as soon as they became available. Unfortunately the entire city of Minot was devastated by the Mighty Mouse River, and not only did the concert get canceled, but the entire North Dakota State Fair as well!

So, what did I do tonight to numb my disappointment? I went running. I guess that isn’t any great surprise as I run most days. While I was running however, I was listening to my music, and Pat Benatar’s “Heart Breaker” came up on my playlist.

I truly hope her husband makes a full recovery and that they will be able to continue sharing their music for many more years! As for me? Pat Benatar has been one of my favorite artists for 35 years and I’ve always hoped I would get to see her live and maybe even meet her someday. “Heart Breaker” indeed!

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Don’t Look Back

I listen to a lot of music when I run. Sometimes the beat rock me down the road. Sometimes the lyrics send a shiver through my body.

Saturday morning I set out on an eighteen mile run. The sun was shining and I felt fantastic. During the first mile Boston’s “Don’t Look Back” came onto my playlist and it was the perfect song for the moment!

Don’t look back
A new day is breakin’
It’s been too long since I felt this way
I don’t mind where I get taken
The road is callin’
Today is the day

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