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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Best of the Web Today

Hey ma, I'm famous! You can find me quoted on the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web Today, about two-thirds of the way down the page ("Sequiturs We'd Like to See") .

If there is a God...

... then why are there atheists? RC Sproul wrote a book by that title and, though I haven't read that book, I studied and preached on Romans 1:18-21 last Sunday which talks about unbelievers "suppressing" the truth in unrighteousness and says that there is absolutely no excuse for unbelief.

Paul's point is that the reasons for unbelief are not intellectual but moral and spiritual. People love their autonomy and pride and do not want admit their need of Jesus' death and resurrection, nor submit to God's rulership over their lives.

Ask your unbelieving friend: "If I could show you that the evidence supports Jesus' claims, would you bow down before Him, accept His salvation and submit your life fully to Him?"

It is because they do not want to do that that they manufacture reasons for not believing in God. People believe what they want to believe. When confronted by reality they do not want to accept they go into denial.

I've witnessed to people who raise objections faster than I can respond; often they don't even wait for my response before going on to the next objection. They don't want to know if their objections are sound, they just want to show me that they can generate objections faster than I can answer them so that I'll stop talking to them about Jesus.

Monday, January 28, 2008


What do you do after you've done something like HURT? By my estimation HURT is the third toughest trail race in the US (1- Hardrock, 2- Plain, 3- HURT, 4- Wasatch). I've done H & H, now I'm trying to get into Wasatch, if not I'll go give Plain another try (I only made it halfway last try). Both are in September.

Meanwhile my next ultra will probably be the Diablo 50M in April, probably the toughest 50 miler in the country; followed by another 50M (TBD) in May. Then, Lord willing, it will be off to Canada this summer for the Kneeknacker 50K in July and the Canadian Death Race (125K) in August. And hopefully the Santa Barbara NineTrails in November for a total of 7 for the year- but all 7 are considered to be among the toughest in their classes.

That's enough to keep things interesting, but still leave me plenty of time and energy for all the exciting non-ultra-running challenges I'll be facing this year at church and at home. And, as always, all is subject to change without notice!

Sierra Snowshoe

For Christmas Mrs Runalong gave me a snowshoe trip with REI in the Sierras between Placerville and Lake Tahoe. It was a slow enough pace for my still recovering body and a great contrast to the rain forests of Hawaii that began my week. (pic courtesy of David Britton-Ohl)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

HURT results

The official results have been posted here.
And this is Manoa Falls, which we passed ten times during the course of the race:

HURT 100 (pt1): Stupidity Illustrated

This is a report about stupidity. Read and learn, budding ultrarunners! In spite of my idiocy, I managed to finish HURT, and my time was near the optimistic end of my pre-race guesses. There are two reasons I did as well as I did, in spite of my untelligence: The first is that I trained well. I trained as hard and as well as I could, and my preparation covered a multitude of sins. The second reason… I’ll save for the end.

At any rate, out of 150 who applied, 115 were granted entry, 89 made it to the starting line, 21 finished and I came in 10th at 33:09. Runners are given an option of opting out after a little more than three loops and take credit for 100K. I could have done the same, and finished second of the 51 who took this route (some voluntarily, some by necessity), but then I would have missed out on all the really good suffering. Besides, I made sure that I didn’t have a hotel room for Saturday night so if I dropped out I would have no place to go (and the way I smelled, no one would have wanted me).

I almost didn’t even enter. HURT cost me about $1000, which normally would cover a year’s worth of races, but one of my goals is to finish the five hardest 100 mile trail races in the US (Hardrock, HURT, Wasatch, Plain, Massanutten, and if you don’t agree with my list make up your own!). In addition, two and a half years ago I found myself running through the night at Western States with Monica Scholz. Knowing that she had run most of the major 100s, I asked her which was her favorite. “HURT.” And whenever I met any Hawaiians at a California race, they were so persistent and enthusiastic in inviting me to come out to HURT that I started saving my money.

Thus, last summer I was planning to enter HURT, but was still waffling over the money issue. When the RD’s announced that application would open in late June, when I would be in Europe, and would probably fill quickly, I wrote back to Jeff Huff and said, “Gee, I’d hoped to come but it looks like I’ll miss the application window.” I didn’t know Jeff but he wrote back and said he’d save me a slot. When I got back from Europe the race was full and I breathed a sigh of relief until I saw my name on the list. So I sent in my app and made it official.

OK, you want to hear about the stupid parts. The website says that there are hardly any sections of the course that are really runnable. The website lies! About 1/3 of the 20 mile loop is highly runnable, moderately technical downhill. By “moderately technical” I mean what we on the continent would call “technical.” Another 1/6 of the course is downhill that is either so steep or so technical that you have to approach it gingerly.

So… wanting to get some miles in before dark, and tired of difficult ascents and technical downhills… when I got to a runnable downhill section I just kind of let go and ran like the wind. The slopes were just steep enough that I got a pretty good head of steam going. That’s about 12-14 miles over the first two loops that I ran way too fast. For the 12-14 minutes I saved then, I probably lost 60-90 minutes over the last two laps, when I was so slow the casual day-hikers were handing me my lunch on a regular basis. But the worst part isn’t the hour or so I lost, the worst part is how absolutely wretched I felt those last two laps. I’ve finished 100s feeling very tired, but without this kind of abject suffering. Believe me, smart is better than dumb. Much better.

But that’s not all! As I filled up my hydration pack at the start, I couldn’t get it to seal and it kept leaking so I was low on water for the first 12.5 miles until I got to my back-up system. My flashlight went through two sets of batteries in five hours and I didn’t have a third set, but I did have a cheap back-up which gave off just barely enough light to get me through 12 miles of highly treacherous dark trails… as long as I didn’t move very fast. I felt blisters forming but chose to ignore them and ended up with about 14 souvenirs on my feet by the fourth loop. In my misery and exhaustion I probably didn’t eat enough, though the 8 ounce carton of chocolate milk I left myself at each aid station stop was a big help. At the last aid station, I only filled one of my two water bottles and regretted it when I ran out with an hour to go to the finish on a very warm afternoon.

No, I’m not a rookie. I’ve finished Bear, Hardrock, Western States and about 40 other ultras. I know better. I’ve done better. Gee, this isn’t brain surgery; you don’t have to be real smart to run a smart ultra! But there it is. Live and learn. Watch Monica Scholz: she knew exactly what she wanted to do (finish, as she has every HURT) and she paced herself well and looked happy the whole way (and the next day). Pay no attention to the man behind the #85.

So my biggest mistake was pushing those early downhills and the worst consequence as that the last two loops were absolutely miserable. People who saw me said I looked “determined”. Yeah, well, I had my fourteen blisters, my quads were burning, I was exhausted and I spent the last 15 hours in a crash course, self-taught, on how to ignore pain. Just run like you would if your feet and quads didn’t hurt and pretend they don’t.

It worked… on one level. The last four miles (downhill) I had a sharp tendonitis-like pain in my right shin which hurt worse than my other pains. It slowed me down some, but I got through my “final exam” in pain management.

HURT 100 (pt2): Horrors & Heroes

Enough about me and my stupidity! Here’s the rest of the story:

First of all, in the western continental US you might, in the desert, run across a cattle skull. The shape is familiar: the narrow oval face bone with the two long curved horns at top. That’s the shape of the HURT course. The bottom (mouth) is the start finish; you go up the left side of the skull, cross over the top of the head to the right horn and down to the tip to the Paradise Point aid station. Then across the horns and down the left horn to Jackass Ginger. And back up the horn, across the top of the head, down the right side of the face and back to the start. I don’t think the RD’s planned this visual metaphor when they designed the course but I’m sure it contributes to the course’s feng shui.

At the starting line the RD’s told us that the conditions were among the best ever. At the finish they said they were probably the worst conditions ever. The winner’s time was about 7 hours off the course record. My time, despite all my mistakes, was only about two hours short of third place. The RD’s didn’t lie. After about 8 brief harmless showers we had a deluge Saturday evening at about 7:30.

Before the deluge we had the normal obstacles. This is, by far, the most treacherous course I’ve ever raced on. The spiny roots are as slick as vaseline and are so intertwined that you really can’t avoid stepping on them. When you do you may go sliding. The rocks aren’t any better- “like snot on a doorknob” my Outward Bound instructor used to say. There are numerous 3-to-5’ rocky ledges that runners have to climb up or down all over the course and perilous drop-offs.

Then the deluge turned the sticky mud into sloshy shoe-sucking mud and there was no good place to go to avoid the roots and rocks. I fell three times, slicing my shin open on the last; did about a dozen three-point landings and slid rapidly and unexpectedly to the front, side or backwards at least a dozen times. My friend Cindy Goh fell and broke a rib or two. After the third loop every runner was solid mud from their soles to their knees- I didn’t even know my shin was cut until I washed off the mud after the race.

And it was warm and humid. Not hot, I don’t think it ever got above 80, but I felt like I was on the edge of heat exhaustion at the finish and was sticky warm all night long.

But it wasn’t all bad! I had a blast the first three loops. After that the only thing that kept me going, when the thought of another 7+ hour loop out here was almost more than I could emotionally and physically bear, was the realization that if I didn’t finish all my suffering would be wasted. Manoa Falls, a sheer 250’ drop is amazing, and we got to see it ten times. The ridges had great views of Honolulu and the ocean, day and night, and fuzzy round white mice came out to share the trails with us at night. No pig or mongoose sightings though.

And the aid stations were phenomenal. All three were great, but Jackass Ginger (Nuuanu) was the best aid station of all time. Normally I’m not too picky about aid stations, but in a hundred-miler I really appreciate good service. At JG, as you entered the area they cheered for you by name, asked for your bottles, directed you to a chair (if you wanted it, I did), brought you your drop bag, told you what was on the menu and took care of any needs or desires you had, then sent you on your way. Every runner’s dream aid station: thanks!

And the people were great: RD’s Huff, Samuelson and Samuelson; volunteers and runners. Monica Scholz was full of encouragement, as was women’s winner Suzanne Bon and her pacer Kelly. I saw a lot of Luis Escobar, Jeffery Rogers, Catra, Beat Jegerlehner, Cindy Goh and others on the 20 mile loop which really consists of only about 14 miles of trail (including out and backs) and I was probably the least cheerful person out there. I owe you all some aloha spirit at our next 100 together!

The post-race buffet of crab, shrimp, prime rib, whole roast pig, and –best of all- slabs of raw ahi; was fun with 150 or so HURT folks and lots of er, unique, entertainment.

Finally: the other reason I did as well as I did, in spite of myself. Having committed myself to the race; paying my entry fee; lining up hotels, rental car and flights; I prayed a lot in the months and weeks prior to the race that I wouldn’t get injured, sick or have some other crisis that would put an end to my race before it began. Eight days before the race I sneezed. I do that a lot but this one created instant sharp back pain all the way across my lower back. A trip to the chiropractor and masseuse helped and it got gradually better as race day approached.

In the first two loops of the race I was well aware of all that could go wrong: I had a back spasm that bothered me for about six hours; I could have fallen and gotten hurt at any time; my stomach could have turned on me; various past injuries in my toe, ankle, shins, groin, ITB, etc could have reappeared or I could have developed entirely new ones easily enough. I was fully and constantly conscious of the fact that my ability to continue for the next leg of the race was fully dependent on the grace of God to keep my body functioning. I never felt like He owed it to me; but I was aware that it was out of my control and in His hands every minute, every mile.

And this was the metaphor I took away: for every day is like this. Every breath, every new dawn is by the grace of God. Every step I take, literally and metaphorically, I owe to Him and receive from Him on an as-needed basis: My food, my air, my water, my resistance to disease, my avoidance of injury, the well-being of loved ones. Lots of people blame God when anything goes wrong, as if He owes them provision and protection but they owe Him nothing. He owes me nothing, but gives me much every day and I owe everything to Him. It’s easy to forget that on a day-to-day basis. Because of HURT it will be easier not to.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

HURT pics

Thanks for all your nice comments! HURT was both better and worse than I expected and I'll have a full report for you, probably tomorrow, but right now my computer is misbehaving and I'm going to have to take it into the Apple store tomorrow to get it fixed. 33:09, tenth place out of 89 starters and 21 finishers, 14 blisters, etc. Here are two of Stan Jensen's pics taken at the nature center aid station which we came to at the end of each loop, the second is women's winner Suzanna Bon (that sign also serves as the finish line after the fifth loop) with her pacer Kelly.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

HURT 100

After six months of obsessing, I can't believe I fly to Hawaii tomorrow. I've been told that the course is even muddier than usual and the forecast for this weekend is for more rain. Given that the race historically has a 25% finish rate (and only a handful of finishers over age 50), I'm glad that my training went well! My back is getting better and hasn't bothered me during my two 11 mile runs (Saturday and Tuesday).

You can follow me on the web HERE- should be updated every two hours or so; I'm #85. The race starts at 6AM (8AM west coast time) Saturday and we have 36 hours to finish the 100 miles and 49,000 feet of elevation change. My next blog post will be next Wednesday. Hope you all have as good a weekend as I'm going to have... or is that the wrong thing to say?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Deja vu, Sisyphus!

This article, which begins with shades of Bishop Berkely (for those of you who heard last Sunday's sermon on Rom 1:19-20) got me thinking in related though different lines.

IF the ultimate reality of the universe is not God, but matter (broadly defined), and if matter has existed eternally (as it would have to: if there was a time when there was nothing, where did all this stuff come from and how did it come to be?), then an infinite number of universes has formed, died, been reshuffled and formed again and again and again. In fact, every possible universe has come into being an infinite number of times.

Since one of those possible universes is the one we are experiencing now, this exact universe (us included!) has existed (and will exist again) an infinite number of times. That would explain those feelings of deja vu we get from time to time! Not only that, but all the possible variations on this universe (imagine your life and surroundings with every possible small or large permutation) has existed and will exist an infinite number of times.

All of which pretty much proves the truth of Romans 1:18-20.

Running for beginners.

The masses are clamoring for a post on how to start running. Here's what I did and what I suggest:

It all started 11 years ago when two guys showed up at church wearing t-shirts from a race they'd run the previous day. Later I looked up their results in the paper and noticed that there had also been a 2-mile race, and that the winner in my age group had clocked in at 13-something minutes. "Hey!" thought I, I ran a 6:10 mile in 8th grade, I'll bet I could run two miles in 12 minutes if I trained. I have fantasies like that from time to time. They generally don't amount to anything.

But, later that day, when Teddi the Wonder Dog wanted to go for a walk, I decided that rather than walk behind him while he scampered (Teddi's really a girl but I've never let her know that), I would jog alongside. I was wearing street clothes and loafers but it didn't matter as I only made it to the end of the driveway (200 feet) before running out of breath.

But the next day I did it again and went about 50' farther. I kept at it, about five times a week, and it only took me two months to get up to a mile. Whoo-hoo! After I got up to a half mile I even got some running shoes.

My goal was to do three miles, five times a week, which seemed like an awfully big goal, but after about ten weeks I experienced the miracle of capillarization. That's where you grow new capillaries because your body is saying, "this guy has been putting a lot of demands on my oxygen-delivery system lately, I better grow me some more capillaries!" Running became a lot easier after that (as it will for you!).

So I tell people, you will never know if you like running until you have run 15 miles a week (at least four runs per week) for ten weeks. Until then it won't be much fun. Deal with it!

I recommend a slight adjustment to my method. Head out the door. Walk five minutes to warm up. Jog very slowly until it becomes uncomfortable (fifty feet, half mile, whatever). Then walk until you feel ready to jog again. Lather, rinse, repeat until you have gone 15 minutes. Mark or note your location. Turn around and do the same as you head home.

Do this each day (at least 4/week) noting how far you get each day. You don't have to go further every day, but you should add distance every week. Only jog until it starts to feel distressing. Then walk until you're back to a more normal breathing rate.

If this doesn't work out, no problem. As long as you limit yourself to rabbit food for the rest of your life you'll be fine.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Anthropic Principle

In the course of preaching on Romans 1:19-20 this week (God indisuputably reveals Himself through what He has made), I mention the anthropic principle. Rather than go into it in detail in the sermon, I refer listeners to this article by Hugh Ross.

And this article, which came out just this weekend, is also "awe-inspiring"!

My core argument, or apologetic, however explored the ramifications of a theistic universe, where a personal spiritual all-powerful God is the ultimate and eternal reality vs. a naturalistic universe, where the material cosmos is all that is or was or ever shall be, amen.

In each of these instances (and many more) naturalism falls woefully short as an explanatory principle:
  1. Is the universe rational or random?
  2. Is the universe Moral or devoid of Values?
  3. Is life purposeful or meaningless?
In each case, theism yields the former conclusion and naturalism yields the latter. And in each case human beings (made in the image of God) intuitively and reflexively KNOW that the former is true. In fact, this is so undeniable that it is impossible for even professed atheists and naturalists to live consistently with a belief in a random, amoral, meaningless universe!

And thank God for that too!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pre-HURT hurt

So it's 8 days 'til the HURT 100 mile race, I've trained well, I'm tapering and all looks good as I get in my car this morning to head to the barber, the chiropractor and a staff meeting. I'm driving away, 1/2 mile from home and I sneeze. No biggie, I sneeze a couple times a day- big, satisfying sneezes.

But this time, as soon as I sneeze I feel a searing pain horizontally across my lower back. Man that hurts! (It still hurts tonight). The chiro said it just looks like some minor muscle damage, should heal up OK in plenty of time for the race. If I sit, stand or lay still it's unnoticeable. If I bend over, well I can barely bend over and it hurts.

I've never hurt myself sneezing before. This is what you call, "not good timing." I'll be fine in a couple days. I really believe that. I just wish I KNEW it!

Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

I used to work in a blanket factory, but it folded.

Corduroy pillows are making headlines.

Sea captains don't like crew cuts.

Without geometry, life is pointless.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

What's the definition of a will? (Come on, it's a dead giveaway!)

If you don't pay your exorcist, you get repossessed.

When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.

A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.

Once you've seen one shopping center, you've seen a mall.

When an actress saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.

Pray without ceasing?

1Thessalonians 5:17.

What DOES that mean? Paul wasn't continuously saying prayers (in the conventional sense of "praying"), for example, sometimes he preached or wrote epistles. Even Jesus, teaching us how to pray, said, "WHEN you pray..." implying it wasn't the only thing we'd ever do.

Perhaps Paul means that we should always be in a prayerful attitude? Praying is a stance of the heart more than a forming of words, right? We should always be conscious of God's presence and seek to include Him in everything, always maintaining a relationship with Him, even when we are concentrating on our work or some other task, right?

That sounds good, and the concept is certainly valid. The problem is, this isn't what "prayer" usually means in Scripture. In the Bible, the term is used almost exclusively for asking God for things. If we ask for ourselves, that's "supplication," if we ask God to do something for others, that's "intercession."

True, there are other forms of prayer: confession, praise and thanksgiving; and they are generally identified by those words. But "praying" is almost always asking God for something. Sometimes we try to be more spiritual than God! It is good to always be conscious of His presence and include Him in all you do. But Paul is talking about asking. In the Bible, prayer is more tangible and specific and, dare I say, even practical, than we tend to make it.

So we have to look at the other term: "ceasing". Paul told many of the churches, "I am always praying for you." I don't think he meant that he continually said to God, "Bless everyone, bless everyone, bless everyone..."

What I think he meant was, whenever you want or need something that you don't have, the FIRST thing you should do is ask God for it (if you can't ask God for it, you shouldn't oughta be wantin' it, pardner). Whenever the needs of others come to mind (which will be frequently, in fact, almost constantly if you are truly a person of love), you should intercede for them.

It's easy to forget that God is the source of everything good that we or others ever receive, have or obtain. It's easy to justify lusting and going after lots of things that we wouldn't feel right asking God for.

Sometimes we don't go to God for the things we want because we prefer our independence.

Often we don't pray for others as we ought because we still haven't gotten very good at this whole "love" thing and are generally too obsessed with ourselves to give a prayer.

It's good to know what's wrong with us. That's the first step to becoming better people than we currently are. And it's an absolutely necessary step.

So... pray without ceasing.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What ticks God off

Continuing my series in Romans, we were looking at verse 18 last Sunday. Apart from the fact that I kept saying "ungodlessness" when I meant either "ungodliness" or "godlessness", the main point will be apparent enough: if we don't focus our primary attention on our vertical relationship with God, we are going to have problems in our horizontal relationships and with temptation and sin in general. Well, duh, right? But...

(Click here to listen online or download)

Diet Rules!

I'm reading Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Diet and he's already got a new book out: In Defense of Food- An Eater's Manifesto. From a review in the LA Times:

"The third section offers rules (rather, gentle suggestions) for how to "escape the Western diet." Many are familiar, if you've spent any time paying attention to what you eat -- for example, don't eat packaged foods with lots of chemical ingredients. Some involve behavioral changes: Eat mostly plants, avoid supermarkets whenever possible, buy a freezer, "don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food," pay more to eat less and don't buy food where you buy gas. Some are more about how we eat than what we eat -- for example, do all your eating at a table, don't eat alone, eat slowly."

Other than the radical idea of avoiding supermarkets you've got to admit that there is an intuitive obviousness to such rules as "don't eat anything your great-grandmother (or, if you are my age, your grandmother) wouldn't recognize as food," and "don't buy food where you buy gas." Someday, anthropologists of the future may study our eating habits and decide that 21st century Americans had Fruit Loops for brains!

Theologically, I find the last three rules significant, though I haven't been living up to them: "do all your eating at a table, don't eat alone, eat slowly." For some reason, most Christians don't think that God has anything to say to us about the basic stuff that makes up most of our lives: what and how to eat, what kinds of recreation to pursue/avoid, what our home environments should look like and be designed toward, etc.

Or, if they think He does, they don't want to hear it?
Hebrews 11:6 might be an appropriate reference here.

Non-Adopters of Quit Smoking Die Soon!

People who drink moderately, exercise, quit smoking and eat five servings of fruit and vegetables each day live on average 14 years longer than people who adopt none of these behaviors, researchers said on Tuesday. (link)

I exercise and eat lots of fruit and drink heavily but I've never quit smoking.

Maybe I should start smoking so I can quit and add 14 years to my life?

And, oh, do they mean alcohol? Well, I do enjoy grape juice and non-alcoholic beer - is that good enough?

And does marshmallow fluff count as a vegetable?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Footprints in the sand

Some pics for a cold January day:
One of my favorite places: Great Sand Dunes NP -

Snow Running

I wanted to get a good downhill run in so I ran the seven miles up to the South Fork summit, including the last 1.5 miles in the snow. A downed tree about a half mile below the top meant I got to run in virgin snow for a ways. A winter wonderland! The clear winter air meant great views of Whiskeytown Lake and Redding (the lights were coming on as I ran down, finishing just after 5:00.

Land of Linkin'

If you link to my new site, let me know and I'll add you to the LoL!

Europe and the Haute Route

Pics and travelogue from last summer's treks and adventures can be found at my old blog, here.  Just keep scrollin'!

Yogi Berra's greatest "hits"

* "He must have made that before he died." -- Referring to a Steve McQueen movie.

* "I'd find the fellow who lost it, and, if he was poor, I'd return it." -- When asked what he would do if he found a million dollars.

* "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there."

* When asked: “Should I cut your pizza into four slices or six?” "You better cut it into in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six."

* Once, Yogi's wife Carmen asked, "Yogi, you are from St. Louis, we live in New Jersey, and you played ball in New York. If you go before I do, where would you like me to have you buried?" Yogi replied, "Surprise me."

* "Do you mean now?" -- When asked for the time.

* "Thanks, you don't look so hot yourself." -- After being told he looked cool.

* "I'd say he's done more than that." -- When asked if first baseman Don Mattingly had exceeded expectations for the current season.

* "You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours."

MHR & Ugaritic-monastic age-gender confusion issues

Athletes like to compute their maximum heart rate (mhr) in order to know whether their workouts are too intense, not enough, or just right. Many novices use the standard formula (MHR = 220 minus age) but this is just an average, individual rates vary widely (my MHR, recorded during a 5K race, is 200bpm). After a long discussion about the formula on an ultrarunning forum, I responded with the following:

Recent posts got me to wondering where the dastardly and deceptive MHR formula came from so I did some research, trying to track it back to its original source. This has taken me most of the past two days requiring translations from 7 languages and tracing 437 footnotes and citations. I finally found the original Ugaritic text from the courts of King Karl during the Sheehan era and was shocked to find out that the original formula was valid, but was corrupted soon after by a copyist's error by a dyslexic monk (Thelonius) who transposed the formula, thus creating all the confusion.

The original formula, by the esteemed and comely mathematician Mythagorous, was not designed to compute MHR at all. Her goal was to achieve perpetual youthfulness and she searched the known world on foot (she was one-legged) to find the secret. From her research she uncovered an astonishing and infallible formula which was subsequently lost to the world due to Thelonius' foolishness (wine was involved), and only now has been recovered, in what undoubtedly will prove to be a Nobel-prize worthy effort of historical research by your 'umble correspondent.

Here is the original formula, absolutely accurate and infallible or double your money back (S&H charges may apply):

220 minus your Maximum Heart Rate = your real age.

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Happy New Year!

I've decided to make this my new blog site. I'll be gussying it up later, for now I thought I should at least end my blogging drought with a few entries. The HURT 100 mile race is less than 2 weeks away so I'm in taper mode after finishing December with an 80 mile week. My legs are still recovering so I'm not doing many miles, but I'm doing the occasional seven-minute mile to keep my oxygen-delivery system sharp.

My Hawaiian friends are reporting muddier than normal conditions (and normal, I'm told, is bad enough).

Those of you who have no life can follow my progress at the race at this site. Bookmark now!
Here are a few pics of the course, thanks to Davy Crockett and Arturs Pridanovs.