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."

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

photo, or it didn't happen

"something smells fishy here."
"people say 'believe half of what you see, son, and none of what you hear...'"

~ norman whitfield and barrett strong

this image just showed up on my FB feed.

at first glance, it looked like someone was about to get an earful of baleen.

amazing! spectacular! omg, can you imagine?!?

at second glance, it looked like a clever (but obvious) bit of photoshoppery.

it's a fake. it's photoshopped. here are the two original images.

it's a fascinating social/media experiment; how long does it take for people to debunk even the most innocuous image/story/video?

the over/under is about 5 minutes.

i mean, i get it: in a bored, overhyped, undersubstanced world, people love the unexpected. but they want it to be real ~ and they don't like to be duped.

still...part of me misses a time when i could be surprised by the unlikely or the unknown without immediately thinking, "nope."

Sunday, January 10, 2016

gorge, rising... #gw100k

(representative columbia river waterfall.
your waterfall may vary.)
"t-minus 82 days to #gw100k"

the gorge waterfalls 100k trail race is approaching... i was gonna say " a freight train," but that's not quite right.

#gw100k is more like an asteroid hurtling toward earth. you can't see it yet, but you know it's out there, and its arrival is just a matter of time.

depending on the day, i'm either piloting a ship directly into the path of said asteroid intent on blowing that f*cker up, or i'm uselessly looking for a cave in which to hide.

which is to say, i'm not ready yet.

when i signed up for this thing, however, i was REALLY not ready. i was tired, mentally and physically, and had serious doubts about lining up on april 2.

still, it felt like it was time to test some new limits, so i got in.

standing here today, i still have many doubts, but their howling is slightly less ominous.

just found out i won a free entry into the mccall trailrunning classic in idaho. a 40-miler in july. how hot could that possibly be? hmm...average highs: 80. average lows: 43. dressing for this will be interesting. layers will be involved...if i've never mentioned it, i hate being cold.

note: many thanks to glenn tachiyama and his "tribute to the trails" calender project raffle; and to brandi bolli-humphrey, who donated the space for the event!
this may be a good time to point out that i've never run longer than 50k (31 miles). forty miles, not to mention 60+ miles, is quite a ways out of my wheelhouse.

and yet for some reason i also dropped an entry card into glenn's raffle for the 2016 bigfoot 100k. i didn't win that one, but the idea hasn't gone away.

what are you trying to do to me, 2016?
lodging for 7 people in troutdale, oregon: confirmed. we have a place to crash the night before and the night after the race. strongly suspect sleep will be hard to come by on april 1; probably not a problem april 2.
also just confirmed: sweeping one loop (25 miles) of the inaugural orcas island 100 mile race (feb. 19-20). overnight. it'll be good to get the miles in; also good practice for...uh...being out in the cold, in the dark.

will be working the team 7 hills aid station friday and saturday, as well. currently not sure when sleep will happen.

this may be a good time to point out i don't get enough sleep.
eleven trail/road miles yesterday, sore left achilles today. run? rest? i need a long back-to-back.


Friday, January 01, 2016


boxes with checks next to them. anti-bedlam.
enough for today
the demands of the moment
the thing on my mind 

is the work in my hand
wood for the woodstove

and water for coffee
something i can still understand

over the ocean from here
over the mountains from there

~ james taylor, 'montana'
like every year before it, 2015 was utter chaos.

and, like every year before, out of the chaos came more beauty and ugliness than our brains could process in a lifetime.

the aspect of my life that stilled the bedlam and brought a flimsy sense of order to the madness was running.

nights in the rain. days in the mud. heat. dust. feeling sick, feeling completely in the zone. the steady constant was the quiet of the trails, and the peace of mind it always brought.

four and a half years into this epiphany, my only regret is that i didn't discover it sooner. that, and a lack of closet space for the shoes.

people more nuanced in such things than i gently remind me that meditative silence is essential to our mental health. a firehose of cacophony must be balanced with an internal mute button. and whether we achieve it through yoga or prayer or exercise or some other path, the point is that it gets us to a place of stillness. else we begin to shake apart.

a lack of internal quiet is a big reason why i ran more in 2015 than ever before. more racing miles. more training miles. more "i have to go run now or my head will explode" miles. i thought at this point in my life there would be more time for review and reflection and rumination. and other r-words. instead there's less time, and far more need.
re-reading this post from late 2014, i find i wrote about many of the same heartbreaking, exhausting things in 2015. mass shootings, racism, poverty. so, either i'm stuck in a rut, or the world is.

it would be so much easier to ignore it all. 

but, it's cold, and there are countless people (and other living beings) who need help. a homeless man, darryl, still lives under the bridge near our house. if i ignore him, if i don't bring him food and blankets and warm clothes, he might die there. how would i explain that to my children? how would i live with myself?

there's no ignoring the exhausting things; but there is a chance to make them less bad.
things i learned while running in 2015:

peace of mind is only a mile or two away.
a bad run becomes good when it's done.
when everything hurts, or i feel sick, i can keep going.
lots of people really are sick and hurting, and would give anything to be there with me. 
there is beauty enough in the world to counteract the ugliness, if you just agree to see it.
every moment, every step, every mile is a gift.

miles covered: 1,367. 

last race of the year
deception pass 50k
98/190 (overall)
7/13 (m 50-59)
shoes: altra olympus 2.0