Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday running log

I ran again on Saturday, because we are scheduled to get weather for Sunday. Today it appeared to be nice out since it was sunny, but it was still chilly--right at 30F by our thermometer.

I wore just a thin polyester set of running tights and a thick cotton long-sleeved t-shirt, a cotton bandanna and some medium-weight gloves. I wore heavier gloves than normal because last week my hands lost circulation, which wasn't painful but a little disconcerting.

As I left I felt a little cold, but this is good: If you feel fine when you start, you will be too hot once you warm-up. Also, I brought my iPod shuffle. I don't normally want it on runs this long because the ear-buds become irritating after more than two hours. They didn't bother me today though and I really liked the random mix of classical (Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Mozart, Orff, Handel)and rock (too many to mention).

Things I noticed on the way:

A certain proportion of cars will not move one iota from their path, no matter if there is a pedestrian on the side of the road. It doesn't seem to matter much if there is on-coming traffic either: The edge huggers (as I call them) give me less room when there is no traffic, than normal drivers do even when there are cars coming from the opposite direction. What was really odd was one bicyclist today: He practically ran over me and there was no traffic around. With cars I can understand how they don't care if they scare a runner--they are not in any danger. But the cyclist would have been hurt just a badly as me. I am kind of amazed by the cavalier driving I see. Drivers don't put themselves in any physical danger when they come close to hitting me, but they could seriously mess-up their lives. If you go to prison for even a short time, you would probably loose your job, possibly your home, marriage and custody of your children.

Other things I noticed: What looked like an unopened can of Miller beer. Too bad it was so early in the run (about 3 miles in) I would seriously have stopped and drank it had it been at mile 10 or later. At about mile 12 I saw an empty bottle of Grolsh beer. It was one of the fancy green ones with the mechanical closure. If I had been closer to home I would have saved it, but I didn't want to carry the thing for the next 7 miles.

Time wise this was a big improvement over last week, I shaved 8 minutes off that time for 2 hours 37 minutes on the 19 miles. I need to improve further, but am happy with the direction things are going.

I may have noted in an earlier post about how, even hours after a long run, blood pressure can be low. Mine was 113/61 about 90 minutes after getting home. This would scare me, except that it is apparently normal when doing endurance work-outs.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I've always thought of burning as a Fall activity. This makes a lot of sense, at least to me, because that is when you have just ripped-out the garden and pruned shrubs. In our town the season is Jan 15th till the end of April.

I was interested in burning because last December we had a big ice storm and piles of branches fell in our yard. We still have snow cover and have had since then, but the relative thaw was allowing the branches to show. They are not particually ugly, but they intrude on my peace of mind--they will have to be dealt-with at some point in time. Why not today?

Our town requires a $10 to burn and they justify this by pointing out that in getting the permit, you will be forced to read the rules and this will be good for safety. Thanks! So, if I hadn't worried about the permit, I wouldn't know I needed one and could have saved a sawbuck.

At any rate, I got the permit and wanted to put it to use right away. The problem is that nobody wants to age tree branches for a couple of years before burning them, but they really don't like to burn when they are green. I had to find some old twigs and branches to get the fire going. It took about 30 minutes of scrambling around to get a blaze going. Once you hit a critical mass though you can throw on the wettest, most snow clogged branch and it will burn.

From Noon till about 3:30, I continuously dragged branches to the blaze and flung them on top. There is a science to burning. I would throw on a few loads of light springy stuff and then follow this with some weighty branches to compress it all down. Generally, I would throw things on teepee style, so that as the fire burned, the outside material would fall to the middle. Long, tree trunks would go so that equal amounts stuck-out both sides of the fire. Then when the flames burned through the middle I could throw the two ends in.

There is a lot more to go, but I made a pretty good dent in the project. Back at the time of the ice storm I had already cut-up all of the reasonable sized hardwood branches for firewood. This probably accounted for half the mass of the debris to be gotten rid of.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Recycling, or how things go from bad to worse for my newspaper bag

Reusing is the best kind of recycling because no energy is consumed in making the old thing into a new thing.

My daily Wall Street Journal is delivered in a plastic bag. I keep the bag and bring it with me to work. After I go jogging at lunch, the sweaty clothes are stored in that bag for transport back home. Once I get home the clothes go in the laundry hamper and the bag goes into the box where we store bags for picking up Meenah's leavings.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Surenna, like all other American 12 year-old girls, is currently obsessed with vampires. There is a bunch of books and a movie as part of this "Twilight" series. She has been allowed to read the first few books, but not see the movie which is PG-13.

Neither my wife nor I has much interest in the details of the story, but Surenna's constant nattering about it has imparted some details onto us. For instance, the story takes place in Forks, Washington. An obscure and out-of-the-way spot even for Washington, but a place I have at least driven through.

Another aspect and probably a near-constant in vampire lore is that when a Human is bitten and thus converted to being a Vampire, they do not age beyond that point. After Our daughter told us this, my wife turned to me and said, "Lets bite Surenna now, then she will never be able to see a PG-13 movie".

Surenna's reaction: Priceless.

What will the neighbor think?

I was still out of it after yesterday's run so I had my wife drive when we went grocery shopping. About a block away from home we saw a guy we know from the neighborhood and we all waved at each other.

A second later I wondered, does he think I lost my driver's license? That is what I would think if I saw a guy's wife driving him around--either that or he is sick or something.

White Hands, What does it mean?

I did my usual 19 miler on Saturday instead of Sunday because the weather scheduled for today, snow then rain then rain and snow...etc, didn't seem like a fun mix to spend 3 hours in.

Saturday was supposed to be great and looked the part, being all bright and sunny. But it was cold, like right about high twenties and into the bottom of the thirties. I started out cold and it took about 30 minutes to warm-up, then I was fine for an hour, but then progressively got chilled for the last hour or so. I think there were two factors: I started at around Noon (the heat of the day) and so it actually did get colder as I went. Second, The prevailing winds were from the North and the end of the run is generally North.

When I get home I usually relax for a bit, drink a lot of fluids & etc. and then take a hot shower about an hour after returning, and that is what I did this time. So, I was a little shocked when I got into the shower and finally noticed that my hands were white. They looked like wax, no hint of pink in them. If I had just come in from outside I wouldn't be concerned, but I had been inside for an hour so I was a little worried. I shook my hands, sort of like a piano player before a concert--in cartoons. This worked, though it was odd looking in that one finger would come back at a time--so I would have one pink finger and the rest still looking like wax.