"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

needles, pins, and paperclips(?)

Just trying to hold it together while we wait for a response to our condo offer. I'm hoping the fact that my cellphone has been strangely quiet all day means that the sellers are at least CONSIDERING our offer, which is more than has happened heretofore. If they want to keep us waiting another 24 hrs and 40-some minutes to see if they can do better, I guess they are allowed to do that.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

recent siting at Loch Snag

Non-indigenous(?) life form viewed from western shore. C snapped this on the Lassen trip. Snag Lake was a beautiful swimming spot. Nice volcanic cinder beach, not too marshy, and the north end of the lake is bordered dramatically by the Fantastic Lava Beds. Temperature probably mid-60's.

Monday, August 28, 2006

prevention of heart rate monitor chafing begins at home

I'm almost on schedule with the Jeff Galloway 3:45 marathon program--I was supposed to be running 17 - 18 miles this week and I did 15 yesterday. 18 on the calendar for next weekend. 15 was a little bit of a leap but it felt pretty good except for the nasty welt at the base of my sternum caused by the HR monitor transmitter. Maybe the strategy is that if this weird device is making a hole in your skin, you are distracted from other issues like foot or knee pain. It was interesting though to be able to look at my watch and see whether I was tired or not. HR stayed in the 150's for most of the 2 hr, 27 minute run unless I was spacing out (causing it to drop), climbing a hill or trying to speed up a little. I also tried the Galloway run / walk method. It varies depending on the pace you are trying to achieve but for a time of 3:45 in the marathon Galloway suggests running 4'30" and walking 30". So, thirty seconds out of every 5 minutes. This is supposed to help you maintain a faster pace. 30 seconds goes by in a flash but during my run yesterday these tiny intervals probably added up to about 15 minutes of walking. My only complaint (other than the chafing) was that between timing the run / walk segments and checking to make sure I still had a pulse, I was constantly looking at my watch.

HR monitor training is highly recommended. Why, Dean Karnazes trained with one so long that he eventually could tell exactly what his heart rate was at any time without using the device. Probably because it wore a hole all the way through his ribcage and he could just look down and count. For the record I have owned my HR monitor for well over a year, just haven't used the transmitter strap much. I would never have gone out and purchased a monitor just because Dean Karnazes mentioned it in his book. Well, I guess we'll never know for sure whether I would have done that, but anyway it's irrelevant since I already have one and I have just chosen to start using it at this time.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Use only as directed

Kids, stay away from yogurt covered pretzels. Just don't even start. It's too late for me; I bought a bag yesterday at the co-op kidding myself that I would be able to eat a couple here and there as a treat; they are made from unbleached enriched flour and evaporated cane juice so they practically radiate healthiness (the picture of a quaint farmhouse on the package helps too). After munching the first one, though, I realized they might as well have been dipped in heroin. Something about the sweet outside and salty inside. They are evil; stay away. One 8 oz bag contains 1140 calories; 42 grams of saturated fat, 162 grams of carbs (108 grams of sugar), and 18 grams of protein. 24 hours later I'm only halfway through the bag though; maybe there is some hope.

On the other hand, the Greek word for "remedy" and "poison" is the same: pharmakon. It is all a question of dosage. These yogurt covered pretzels may be a fine remedy for something; I'll just have to experiment with the right dosage.

They are made by Woodstock Farms and retail for between $4 - $5 a bag, just so you know what you're being warned from.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

there, and there, and back again

Wednesday, August 9: Left Chico at 7:00 pm, starting to feel like we'd never get away. Good thing I got off work early. Arrived at the house in Westport about 5 hours later at midnight. It shouldn't take that long but there was a layover for construction on Hwy 20, and I think my driving slows down considerably at night. I'm tired and I feel like I can't see that well. Ok, it's dark, no wonder. I always take Hwy 20 all the way to Fort Bragg rather than heading up to Laytonville when traveling after dark; I need a road that has shiny lines down the middle under those circumstances.

Our Sponsor and his fine catch, best we could do with the cellphone camThursday, August 10: Rose at 5:00 am, with just a little prompting from Mom, to get down to the harbor for the fishing expedition. The boat with its crewmembers and cargo of sport fishing enthusiasts, including me, Ce, Dad, Uncle G, cousins, and several strangers took off over into choppy waters and roller coaster swells, heading northwest for about an hour until we arrived in the happy fishing grounds near Westport. Ce & I held up fine during the ride out but some of the other passengers fared not so well. They brought new meaning to the word "wretched," with their tormented moans and no apparent relief until we pulled back into Noyo harbor four or five hours later. I was hugely proud of Ce; though she would surreptitiously dash to the other side of the boat now and then, she continued to fish with gusto and reported feeling pretty good between episodes. Even I, who have never before been seasick, barfed once. Otherwise the trip was very successful; our freezer will be restocked with rockfish fillets.

I have debated in the last few minutes whether the barfing scenes in this story are TMI or not. However, Dean Karnazes discusses barfing in considerably greater detail in his book. Yep, we endurance fisherpeople / athletes, we barf now and then. It's just the right involuntary thing to do.

By Thursday night our appetites had recovered sufficiently to devour some of the catch. Big family chow-down at the campground. Uncle G at the grill did justice to those fillets.

Friday, August 11: The Team Fisher photo shoot. Followed by a bike ride from the house down to Ft. Bragg, just over 19 miles of riding bliss down Hwy 1. I understand now why so many people will play chicken with the logging trucks to bike that road. For the most part all the passing vehicles, big trucks included, were cautious and respectful. But it's not something you'd want to bet on. Being on the road without a steel and glass cage around you is as close to flying as you can get without leaving the ground. Motorcycles must feel the same way traveling the clifftops of the 1. I have found motor - bikers to be very friendly even if they are secretly (or not) shaking their heads and laughing at me as I toil up a long grade. It's us vs. the cagers, except that my bike runs on fish fillets, spaghetti, peanut butter sandwiches and homemade granola (in addition to numerous other renewable fuels).

Meanwhile...Ce discovered that she was quite interested in my Dean Karnazes book so she picked up reading it aloud where I had left off. In the book, "Karno" was running the entire Providian Relay (Calistoga to Santa Cruz, 200 miles) by himself as we ourselves drove down to Santa Cruz on Friday night to attend the wedding of our friends Darcy & Aimen. I think the point Karnazes tries to make finally sank in; it really isn't that he has superman powers or anything. Maybe some good running genes and biomechanics, yes, but mostly it's sheer will that keeps him going. We decided that his story has made us think about whether the limits we set for ourselves aren't a bit, well, too limited.

NEXT: Visiting the "Land of Medicine Buddha" in Soquel, and a debate on the efficacy of prayer-sending technologies.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

me and Karnazes, Karnazes and I

I'm reading his book, Ultramarathon Man, for some inspiration with the marathon training. He describes almost mile-by-mile his experience doing the Western States Endurance Run for the first time, how his toenails fell out, he went temporarily blind, and he crawled part of the last few miles on his hands and knees.

I was curious about whether / how many women participate in the WS100. Turns out that this year, a woman named Beverley Anderson-Abbs from Red Bluff, a town 30 miles north of here, finished in 9th place overall. 9th out of 210 finishers, in 20 hours 10 minutes 36 seconds. She is 42. In 2005 she finished the WS100 just an hour behind ol' Ultramarathon Man himself. A week ago she finished 26 minutes behind him in the Vermont 100 to take second place overall. Reportedly, horses compete in the Vermont race as well, and she beat all of the horses too. Not bad.

I was thinking about the ultra subject this morning on my fine little 6 mile jog, thinking that if I ever reached the end of a marathon and thought to myself, 'hey, I'd like to just keep on running another 24 miles,' then maybe I would consider the American River 50 miler. I think I'm safe for the time being. But on the other hand, I'm awake in the middle of the night writing about ultramarathon runners so maybe I share more of their pathology than I realize. It just seems like everything starts to seize up and / or fall apart around miles 17 - 20. Hard to imagine that stage being the beginning or even middle of a race rather than the final third. Seems a lot more sensible to cross the continent on a bicycle instead. You can sleep at night, and eat in restaurants along the way, and maybe keep all your toenails intact. The sheer luxury of it.

Dean Karnazes quotes Lily Tomlin in his book--her statement merits a stint as the official Hamartia & Cheese Sandwiches subtitle.

Friday, August 04, 2006

¿O cuándo te vimos enfermo, ó en la cárcel, y vinimos á ti?

I wanted to share the winning essay from the ABA e-journal Ross Essay contest. The author (a law professor at the U. of Missouri-Kansas City) said a hell of a lot in 600 words.

Photo is one I found of San Quentin.