Monday, February 08, 2016


sunday's view of the local volcano.
i don't know why i'm so tired this monday morning.

oh, wait. yes, i do.

saturday a.m. 12.5 miles seven hills group run

saturday p.m. clean kitchen, deep-clean disgusting shower (get fingers scalded by bleach ~ idiot), pick up accumulated dog poop in front yard, haul 10 bags of mulch and peagravel down treacherous slope to back yard, fill 6 yard waste bags with cut-back shrubs and blackberry brambles, haul bags back up treacherous slope, order pizza, drink a beer, fall into sleep-coma.

sunday a.m. 11.2 miles up and down chirico trail, 5,280 feet of vertical.

3rd on beam, 5th on floor. a good day.
sunday p.m. shower, wolf down late lunch, do laundry, drive loving daughter to gymnastics meet in tacoma, endure interminably slow meet and awards presentation, drive home in surprisingly heavy traffic, arrive magnolia at 11:15 p.m., get ready for bed, bandage fingers, sleep like a stone for 5.5 hours.

monday a.m. fail to kill alarm, feed and walk dogs in windy cold darkness, shower, commute 26 miles to office. zombie-walk through morning, struggle to recount reasons for current torpor.
it was worth it.

t-minus 53 days to #gw100k

Thursday, February 04, 2016


"they have weird rain here."
where'd you go baby buffalo?
what's become of old cotton eyed joe?
holed-up, lying low
long gone come a summertime snow

~ james taylor
this may have been my favorite day of trail running ever.

rain was forecast at the 2016 orcas island 25k, along with chilly temperatures.

instead, there was snow.

important meteorological note: running in snow beats running in cold rain 10 times out of ten. and twice on saturdays.

race notes: there's some climbing on this course. about 4,450 feet of it, according to the rainshadow running web site. i have no quarrel with this estimate.

you start out climbing, then give back everything you just gained. you reallyreally climb up the powerline trail, then give a bunch of that back. getting to the aid station at the top of mt. constitution? more climbing. all of which you give back over the last 5-ish miles.

the first time i ran this race, my quads hated me for the next three days. this time? no pain at all. throughout the race, i felt strong and relaxed and oops, i fell down. 

see the nice, gentle downhill that starts at about mile 8? man, that is some fantastic running. the trail is buttery soft, snow was wafting through the canopy, everything was still and quiet...except for the sound of me falling. ooof. i landed on my right side and rolled onto my back.

"are you okay?!" asked the nice woman running in front of me. "yup, i'm good," i said, popping back up again. because falling while trail running happens.

two minutes later: boom. down onto hands and knees.

"are you okay?!?" asked the same nice woman in front of me, perhaps concerned i was having some sort of cerebrovascular event. "yup, i'm good," i said again. "thank you for asking." because falling twice while running on a completely benign trail is a little embarrassing.
earlier i said something about this being my favorite trail day ever. that was my exact thought, in fact, while running the fall-down trail.

in retrospect, i think it's because i was in the zone the entire way. i was working hard on the no-kidding-around ascents, but the effort was effortless. there were a couple idiopathic falls, but they were of no concern or consequence. there was snow, which was beautiful, instead of rain, which is wet. my hands and feet got icy-cold at the top of mt. constitution, but they warmed right back up again within a mile.

at the bottom of the last descent, i started to feel the same leg cramp i got while running this section two years ago. then, it hit hard and took awhile to work out. this day it never really took hold, and i ran right past it. or through it. or something.

in no time at all i was finish-line high-fiving race director james varner, two minutes faster than two years ago.

soon, friends were crossing the finish line as well, getting their own high-fives. dry clothes were donned, food and beer consumed. photos, smiles, more finishes, more food. and beer.

finally, an exceptionally cool thrift shop shirt (with the 2016 orcas 25k logo on the back) was triumphantly pulled from a big box of shirts that went unnoted and unmarauded before the race. huge score.

standing here today, i can't think of a thing i'd change.

yup. best trail day...yet.
thank you, rainshadow cast and crew (especially those of you enduring the bone-chilling conditions at the top). none of it was possible without you. just kidding about the soup, colton gerhart.
2016 orcas island 25k

55/254 (overall)
4/24 (m 50-59)

shoes: altra lone peak 2.5
song stuck in my head the entire run: "baby buffalo," by james taylor

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

gear fail

waterproof: yes. breathable: no.
(environmental controls and other

accessories sold separately.)

there's no such thing as "breathable, waterproof" gear.

you get one or the other.

either way, you get wet.

life lesson: get used to being wet.

sad realization: after years of running trails in the PNW, with a closet full of gear to show for it, i'm still trying to figure out how to dress myself.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

capitol idea

"dude, get over yourself." ~ the entire world
i have excuses.

up too early.

too much rain.

wore the wrong gear for rain.

wore the wrong shoes.

the sleeve of my water-logged jacket kept snagging some velcro on my hydration vest.

heavy legs.

runny nose.

some unfortunate chafing.

GI issues.

didn't eat or drink a thing the entire race because of GI issues.

these are just some of the completely legit excuses for a lousy run at the 2016 capitol peak mega fatass.

ten minutes after i changed into dry clothes, the excuses were irrelevant and the run turned awesome.
t-minus 67 days to #gw100k.
2016 capitol peak mega fatass

17 miles (27.4k)
40/147 (overall)
5/14 (m 50-59)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

over / under

Hello Ballard families,

This morning just before 9:00, we received information from the Seattle Police Department of two incidents that took place within two blocks of school at practically the same time.  First, SPD got a report of an adult white male with a handgun across the street.  

Secondly, a fight of some kind between two school aged males took place on 65th near Salmon Bay.

The incidents were not thought the be related, but the uncertainty lead SPD to advise us to first Shelter in Place (instruction continues with all doors locked), then as the proximity became clear we were advised to switch to a Lockdown (lights out, total silence, no one enters the building) and eventually back to a Shelter in Place.  The Shelter in Place was lifted just past 9:30.
i don't know what's most disturbing:

that i didn't find out about this until i picked up the email from the school's principal at 10:45 a.m.

that i didn't almost puke after reading it.

that i didn't hear from either of my children during the event.

that my wife didn't inform me after receiving a text from our daughter.

that i picked up my phone to angrily text my daughter, "in the future, please let me know when..." 

i stopped there, and nearly threw my phone at the wall. because of how blithely i assumed there would be a next time, and how routinely i was about to chastise my child.

apparently the threat of gun violence is so expected, so accepted, that a lockdown at school is just a normal part of any given day, not worth getting all riled up about.

the occurrence apparently has become so uninteresting that the principal thinks it's perfectly fine wrap up his email to parents with this boilerplate:

Our students and staff handled the incident very well and everyone is now continuing with their regular school day.  Thank you to Ballard's administrative team, security specialists and office staff for their professional, decisive actions.  It is truly Always Great to be a Beaver!
i'm trying to compose a response to the coherently express my disappointment and fear and frustration. 

but the rage keeps getting in the way. 

i don't think i'm overreacting...
update: my response.

Mr. Wynkoop.

From your closing to this email, my takeaway is that the threat to the school wasn't very serious.

And yet, it was serious enough to put the school on lockdown.

As a parent of two students at BHS, I'm having a hard time reconciling these disparate messages.

Has the threat of gun violence become so expected and accepted that an email that starts "white male with a handgun across the street" can blithely end with "everyone is continuing with their regular day" and "'s great to be a Beaver!"?

Candidly, your email brought my "regular day" to a screeching halt; and your close, in my view, trivialized the incident.

I'm sure that's not what you intended, so I would be grateful if you would help me understand the messaging here.


Michael Miller

Sunday, January 17, 2016

first and goal #gw100k

yes, i own some shoes.
i just put up my first-ever 50-mile week.

51 miles, to be precise.

related: i've been eating all the things, and sleeping much more than usual.

and i'm gonna have to kick it up to a couple 68-mile weeks (with some looong back-to-backs) before long.

note to self: buy more food. lots more food.
note to self II: don't operate heavy machinery.

addendum: so much laundry. i typically layer three tech shirts, and i've been cycling through all my compression calf sleeves, shorts, man-pris, and beanies.

running the washer/dryer twice a week, just for my stuff.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

the illusion of control, part infinity

"The more we’re governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are, where we come from, and what might be possible."

~alan rickman, on the power of stories
we all have ideas about "what might be possible."

almost without exception, those ideas limit us unnecessarily. if my list of what's possible five years from now and five months from now and five weeks from now isn't constantly changing, i'm doing a horrible job at human-ing.

the difference between who you were and who you are can change in less than a heartbeat. for any of 10,000 reasons. your journey can veer off wildly, in directions you never contemplated, in the blink of an eye.

and yet we still tell ourselves stories about what we can and can't do.

to sum up: don't believe everything you think.

better still: tell yourself a fantastic tale, and then take a step toward it.
"where do you see yourself in five years?"
"i have no earthly idea. anyone who says otherwise is wasting your time."