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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Who's more qualified: Palin or Biden?

I think we can all agree that Palin's pick of an experienced statesman like John McCain to head her ticket shows that she is much better prepared to be VP than Biden who is trying to thrust an unqualified youngster who was a do-nothing state legislator before being elected to the Senate where he put in a few months of attendance before going AWOL to run for president.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

See how she runs!

Gov. Sarah Palin has always been a runner. Her parents were marathoners and high school track and cross-country coaches. "Running was a family affair," she says. "I didn't have much choice. Thankfully, I've never tired of it."

Gov. Palin, a mother of five kids, says exercise is still very much a "family thing." She and her husband, Todd, also an athlete, named their first son Track because he was born in that sport's season.

"Conventional running is my sanity," Gov. Palin says. Having recently given birth to her fifth child, the governor is trying to get back to her old workout routine. She was running 7 to 10 miles almost every day but switched to aerobics classes at her gym when she became pregnant. She has worked her way back up to running three miles every other day.

In the summer, when it's always light, she'll sometimes run as late as midnight. In the dead of winter, when it's dark, she sneaks in an afternoon run, or else grudgingly runs on the treadmill at home or at the gym in the evening.

"My family and I eat a healthy diet heavy in wild Alaskan seafood, moose, caribou and fresh fruit," she says. "I guess my biggest pitfall is breakfast. I know it's the most important meal of the day but I still haven't bought into it. I hate to admit it, but a skinny white-chocolate mocha is my staple in the morning."

"My ideal fantasy is to be running on a hot dusty road just wearing running shorts and some kind of top that wicks away sweat. But in reality I'm running in 20-below temperatures, so I wear layers of fleece and always a good outdoor waterproof trail shoe. Right now I've been running in Nike Air Structure Triax. And I always wear sunglasses. My kids tell me to put them on so I don't freak people out when they see me with a goofy hairdo and no makeup."

While I'm working out

"I'm thinking about my next speech. I usually write my best speeches and letters [in my head] while out running. That is my inspired time."

(Source: WSJ Magazine)

Grizzly Peak Run

Refilling water bottles at Deer Creek (note the Umbrella Plants)

Ted and Mark and I ran/walked to the abandoned fire lookout at the top of Grizzly Peak today (about 20M east of Castle Crags) on the PCT, starting at Ash Camp (near McCloud Lake). The 11.5M downhill return run was a foretaste of heaven. After a steep 800' drop during the first mile down from the top we had 10+M with about 3000' of total descent at a nice gentle grade on (mostly) smooth pine-needle-covered trails. Nearly effortless running!

On top of Ol' Grizzly

Mt Shasta, and no, I don't know why the sink is filled with dirt.

You can see a bit of Shasta Lake here (looking south)

It was a little warm, and there were a lot of gnats for the first couple hours and I did nearly step on a rattler (third time this year I've made a rattlesnake very, very mad), but I quibble.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Separated at Birth?

mrs runalong

patricia heaton (everyone loves raymond)


It was just pointed out to me that the four candidates for the White House come from the 1st, 48th, 49th and 50th states added to the union.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

If this doesn't motivate you to start running...

I started running to avoid dying early. My dad has had numerous heart attacks and when I started gaining weight at 40, I didn't want to follow in his missteps. I was after quantity of life, not quality. After all, having to go running every day surely would decrease the present quality of my life, not improve it!

This NBC news report explains how running can postpone the various physical degenerations associated with aging by up to 16 years or more. And the older you are, the greater the difference in quality of life between you and your non-running peers.

Yesterday evening I ran a fun run (10K on the Bailey Cove trail at Shasta Lake) in 46:30 (2 laps, 23:10 per lap) and felt great! I especially enjoyed passing a few of the young cross-country runners who came out for the event. So far, 54 is a fine age to be.

Watch the video! And get moving!!

view from the Bailey Cove trail

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Redding On Fire!

It was very windy here today and a fire broke out in an area known for illegal campgrounds. It quickly spread across Market Street and through the area between Hilltop and the Sacramento River toward the Sundial Bridge.

I watched from the top of Market Street as fire bombers dropped retardant on the slopes below Hilltop, a helicopter dropped buckets of water on the area just below me and dozens of firetrucks and crews showed up to prevent a Redding version of the dreaded "Mrs O'Leary's Cow" syndrome.

At last report no buildings burned but it must have been scary for the children and parents of Turtle Bay School, right in the middle of it all.

Illegal campfire? Carelessly tossed cigarette? Arsonist trying to drive the "bums" out of the area?

P.S. The Redding Record-Searchlight article allows on-line comments. I usually don't read them because they make me lose faith in humanity, but this time some of them had useful information we couldn't find anywhere else.

But, in order to read the useful comments you had to wade through all the "Bickering Idiots". Still, it was almost worth it when I found this absolutely classic comment from one BI to another: "And I agree your a MORAN!"

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Back to School Special!

Patrick's Point

A bunch of folks (all age groups) from church spent the week camping on the coast at Patrick's Point SP. I only stayed half of the week but got in some nice runs in the park and on Agate Beach (it's about 2.5 miles to the end of the spit). I pretty much had the beach to myself, those are my footprints in the second pic, taken on my return trip. Found lots of agates too.

We all had fun together around the campfire eating s'mores and such. Tuesday I went into Trinidad and stopped at a little hippie-new age-coffeeshop near the beach to work on my sermon. After awhile I got talking to an attractive young woman who celebrated her birthday this Thursday, just like me. Unlike me, she's turning 30. So she sat down with me and chatted awhile and then invited me to join her and some friends for a bonfire on the beach at sunset Thursday.

This is the sort of thing that only happens to me about once every half century or so.

The funny thing is, I didn't have to resist temptation (did I mention how attractive she was?) because there never was any. I was surprised that she sat down by me to talk (generally I'm invisible to women her age) and when she invited me to join her and her friends for an evening on the beach my one dominant thought was, "This will make a great story!"

But there was never any desire to "play it out and see where it leads". I'm hardly immune to lust, but I have no desire to er, complicate my life with such entanglements. I like my life and relationships just the way they are, thanks.

Granted, she probably meant her offer totally innocently and it probably wouldn't have lead to anything, but the sin is in getting involved with the hopes that it might. This time, at least, lust was superseded by bemusement.

The fact that the sermon I was working on was all about confession, repentance and the consequences of sinning- well, that might have helped too.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mount Maxwell

If they ever decomission this park on Salt Spring Island, I'm going to build my summer home on this spot.

Tide Poolin'

One of our major responsibilities at Salt Spring Island was inspecting the tide pools at low tide each morning. It's a tough job, but we were up to the task.

Salt Spring Island

I'm heading out to the coast today for a few days camping with friends with church. Before I go I should post some pics from our visit last month to Salt Spring Island in Canada's Gulf Islands. It's just across the border, we could sit in camp and look at the US. And we did spend most of our four days there just sitting, though we did go for a bike ride and a couple of short hikes/runs.

We even got chased by a pack of vicious turkeys! And I bought a t-shirt with a picture of some backpackers and the words, "Bring a compass. It's always awkward when you have to eat your friends."

Basic Barbell Training

I'm seriously considering buying this book- the reviews are grrrreat.

I would have pulled the trigger but I held off because I was so turned off by the first sentence:

"Physical strength is the most important thing in life."

No wonder Mother Theresa was such a failure!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Rest Area - Just a head...

On a related note:

Oh, OK, one more (but don't tell anyone in my congregation about this post):

It just wouldn't be sporting...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

12,000 calories a day

Breakfast: 3 fried egg sandwiches, 2 cups coffee, 5-egg omlette, bowl of grits, 3 pieces of french toast, 3 chocolate chip pancakes

Lunch: 1 pound pasta, 2 ham & cheese sandwiches, 1000 calorie energy drink

Dinner: 1 pound pasta, 1 large pizza, 1000 calorie energy drink

With a typical daily menu like that, this guy should be a giant tub of lard, stuck on the couch in a semi-coma, right? But no, the guilty party isn't this guy:

But rather, this guy:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My knees are fine, thanks.

Everyone's always asking or expressing concern about my knees. They seem convinced that all this running will do them in. Actually, it's generally lateral movement (tennis, basketball, soccer, skiing, etc) or being overweight that causes problems.

A lot of folks who develop knee problems while running are experiencing delayed problems from damage they did when they were younger. Yet another major study confirms what I've been saying:
The study also showed that people cannot use the risk of injury as an excuse not to run -- the runners had fewer injuries of all kinds, including to their knees.
Actually, that's just an aside to the main article, titled: "Want to Live a Long Life? Run."

Bottom line: Even if you start late in life, running will do good things for your body and mind.

A study in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found no evidence of accelerated rates of osteoarthritis among long-distance runners when compared with healthy nonrunners. "We used to say that osteoarthritis came from wear and tear. That's now revised to say that is can result from tear but not wear," says James Fries, emeritus professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine and senior author of the study. Moreover, weight-bearing exercise like running helps stave off osteoporosis by maintaining bone mineral density.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Special Sunday Food Edition

These are interesting lists:

The 20 Healthiest Foods for Under $1

The 11 Best Food You Aren't Eating

(Beets, sardines and pumpkin seeds make both lists - now you know what to have for lunch!)

But this is what I really want you to see: A pictorial essay showing what the world eats. These pictures are worth 1000 grocery carts worth of advice. Take time to take note of the details:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ultra-Marathoner Admits He Just Hates His Family


White River 50 Mile Race

Not quite four miles into the race the runner ahead of me turned his ankle, then hobbled over to the side of the trail, and leaned against a tree in obvious pain. "Are you OK?" I asked perceptively. "I think I broke my ankle!" he moaned. I ran ahead to the next aid station, which was just two minutes ahead to get help (my medical knowledge is pretty much limited to knowing that the ankle is in the foot region).

Fortunately, I found out much later, his ankle wasn't broken, though he did have to drop out.

White River is a simple little course, it only has two hills. The biggest hill comes first, when we are fresh and leads us up 4000' to stunning views of Mt Rainier. Frequently I would round a bend on the crest and see a zillion gorgeous wildflowers with Rainier as a backdrop as dozens of Munchkins popped up all around me and started singing,
You're out of the woods, You're out of the dark,
You're out of the night.

Step into the sun, Step into the light.
Keep straight ahead for the most glorious place
On the Face of the Earth or the sky.
Next on the agenda comes what quite possibly is the best downhill section in any race, about 8 miles downhill, on soft, relatively non-technical, single-track back to the starting area. I passed a zillion people during the descent. Ever since my lobotomy I am wicked fast on downhills! The Munchkins sang for me the whole way down!

Back at the start (half-way point) I was feeling a little tuckered due to having run so fast for so long. The Munchkins apparently went down for a nap and I was beginning to think I was in for a very long hard day, but Benny Hinn jumped out from behind a tree and I miraculously recovered and actually was feeling pretty darn good by the time I got to the top of Sun Top at mile 37. The Munchkins were back! It also helped that Sun Top and other exposed parts of the climb were in the clouds and it wasn't as hot as usual going up. (In fact, the weather all day long was absolutely, positively perfect.) Sadly though, this was to be the last I'd see or hear of my Munchkin friends.

For at this point we come upon one of the cruelest downhill stretches in the world of ultras: 6.5 miles of steep hard-packed gravel road. My legs hurt, my soles hurt, my hurts hurt. I was running fast (at times up to 7:00 mpm), trying to make up as much time as I could and trying to get to the bottom as fast as possible, but the road went ever on and on. Many times I said to myself: "If I only had a brain..."

By the time I got to the penultimate aid station my legs were thoroughly thrashed. And I still had almost seven miles left. "Flat" they said, but it was rolling and was by far the most technical section of trail in the race. Ding dong, my legs are dead. But all bad things do come to an end and I finished, utterly spent, in 10:19; almost an hour faster than my other visit here six years ago when I was a strapping lad in my 40s.

Of course, six years ago I knew I was heading out on a 200 mile backpack trip the next day down the PCT, which would culminate in running another 5o mile race at Mt Hood two weeks later. So I had taken that wicked downhill of the west a little easier back then. Still, I thought 10:19 was pretty good for a geezer, but awards went five deep and I came in 6th in my age group- "My! People come and go so quickly here!"

And, holding fast to tradition, I did head out backpacking the next day, but only an easy hike up into Goat Rocks with my womenfolk.

At the finish line I sat down with my old PCT buddy, David (DNS!) Horton and reminisced about that time back in aught-five that he and I teamed up to set the PCT speed record :-)

Then I found myself at the front of the line for the tasty post-race BBQ. A couple of bites of meat and my stomach mutinied. I finished the race but the BBQ would go down as a DNF. I offered my unfinished plate to Horton who, just like 3 years ago, completed a task that I could only dabble at. Not bad for a guy who's practically a sexagenarian!

Granted, there's no place like home, but if you ever want to experience life somewhere over the rainbow, the White River 50 is the race for you. Ain't it the truth!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Kneeknacker 30 Mile

It starts with a 4000' climb in the first five miles. That took almost two hours. Then come the downhills, but they are so technically challenging that you don't get to make up much time. In fact, it's hard to ever get into much of a consistent rhythm before a new mass of rocks and roots slows you down as you gingerly pick out a route.

Running the first downhill, through a ski area that will be part of the 2010 Olympics, I was following a veteran runner who was later described to me as a sort of kamikaze runner- fearless on downhills. He did pretty good for awhile but eventually I got impatient with him and zipped past him. Someday I'm going to take a spectacular fall on a downhill, but fortunately today wasn't the day. I passed people (71 of them!) the rest of the way and the last four miles were such that I was able to really let go and run all out.

Because I had been going relatively slow most of the day I finished the race feeling fresh and ready to keep going. I finished in 7:24 after aiming for a sub-7 finish. I ran the first half in 3:47 and the second half in 3:37. 7th out of 27 in my age group.

The views were fantastic, the forest was beautiful, the alpine sections had a bit of snow and mud but all in all this was one of the most beautiful courses and funnest races I have run. Not many Yankees head up to BC for this race, but Vancouver is a great town and y'all should consider a summer vacation to BC sometimes soon, with KK as part of your plan (if you get selected in the lottery!).

Monday, August 4, 2008

Yes, there were flowers...

Not as many as usual for this time of the year in Sawgrass Flats, but still...

And, as we bid a fond adieu to Goat Rocks, I just like this shot of our "Rock-Sweet-Home"-

Oregon Today = USA Tomorrow?

Oregon is, according to an editorial in the Oregonian newspaper, "the only state that both allows assisted suicide and tries to ration health care." This embarrassed the state when 64-year-old Barbara Wagner got sick with lung cancer and the state essentially said to her, Have you considered suicide, lady?:
After her oncologist prescribed a cancer drug that would cost $4,000 a month, the newspaper reported, "Wagner was notified that the Oregon Health Plan wouldn't cover the treatment, but that it would cover palliative, or comfort, care, including, if she chose, doctor-assisted suicide."

I don't think we're in Redding, anymore, Toto

After a beautiful Monday we woke up Tuesday to this:

So we headed out and collected some firewood, not wandering too far for fear we wouldn't be able to find our way back through the fog!

At first it wasn't very cold so we were pretty comfortable huddling next to the fire and reading and relaxing, but as the day went on it started to rain and got colder and colder and colder...

Fortunately our rock provided a big overhang/shelter for us to stay dry by the fire. It was ironic though- after fleeing Redding to escape the smoke and heat, here we are on July 29 huddling by a smoky fire to stay warm!

By Wednesday morning there was fresh ice forming on our little creek, my mattress had sprung a leak, and when I suggested maybe we should leave a day early and spend a day in Portland, I saw two faces light up with joy.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

On Top of Old Snowy

The highest mountain in Goat Rocks, Old Snowy, is just a hair under 8000' high and a pretty easy climb (about 5 miles round trip from our camp) with just a little bit of hairy scrambling at the end. But it offers some of the best views I've ever experienced: Rainier, Adams, St Helens and almost all of western Washington can be seen from the top. Monday was so nice that even at the top it was comfortable with just a windbreaker. But this is one case where 5 pictures are worth 5000 words:

The PCT is under here somewhere!

Climbing, with Rainier in the background.

On Top of the World!

Heading back to camp (Mt Adams loometh)