Monday, December 26, 2016

real work

it may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey

~ wendell berry
darryl is still there.

still living under the bridge a hundred steps from our house, still sleeping on the ground next to the stairs.

this time of year, whenever i step out the door and think, "damn, it's freezing out here," the thought is invariably followed by another: "i hope darryl is warm enough."

we do what we can. over the last three years we've given him sleeping bags, coats, shoes, gloves, hats, and lots of food. we visit regularly to ask him what he needs, and bring back whatever it might be.

what he doesn't ask for, and what we can't bring, is care for what ails his mind. in the time we've known him, he's demonstrated that sometimes he's just...not all there.

he speaks lucidly about his world 90% of the time; the other 10% it seems like he's experiencing a confusing waking dream. it's those times i fear for his safety. for his life.

and i don't know what to do about it.
we live in a country soon to be led by a president who mocks the disabled. a government that as a matter of policy demonstrates contempt for the least among us. 

the majority of us didn't choose this...but the vagaries of self-governing being what they are, this is what we got.

and it really doesn't matter. what does matter is doing the right thing, regardless. helping those who need it, and hoping we remain in a position to do so. because as noted many times before, anything can happen to anyone at any time.
"the clock of life is wound but once
and no man has the power to tell
just when the hands will stop
on what day ~ or what hour.
now is the only time you have,
so live it with a will
don't wait until tomorrow
the hands may then be still."
in the category, "you read about things like this, but..." we spent much of christmas 2016 in the emergency department with my father. what began as an innocuous inability to swallow a bite of turkey ended many hours later with a 2 a.m. visit by a gastroenterologist and an endoscope.

in between were an array of tests, scans, images, intravenous administrations, and other uncomfortable indignities.

the esophageal spasm was resolved, finally; blood work ruled out suspicions of an MI; ultrasound and CAT scan ruled out blood clots.

by happenstance, though, the CAT scan revealed a spot on one of his vertebrae. not ruled out: cancer.

since all of us were visiting arizona from someplace else this year, conclusive tests will have to be done when my parents return to colorado. the wait between now and then will be uneasy. when we know more, the real journey will begin.
by near-unanimous proclamation, 2016 has been a particularly unkind year. interrupted by moments of joy, certainly, occasionally interspersed with hilarity, too often darkened by outrage.

(let's list mass slaughter in syria, the disintegration of polar ice caps, a terrorist attack in paris, and the failure of american self-government as a placeholder for the "many bad things" that transpired. your list may vary.)

it's worth noting that countless fellow humans around the globe are too occupied with staying alive to weigh in on such subjects. we americans look on from a position of relative ease and observe the chaos; but really, we remain insulated and isolated from the worst of it.

however bad it's been, "2016" was just an arbitrary set of days filled with things that happened. people made choices ~ they acted, failed to act, watched a lot of tv. ripples emanated, dominoes fell, gravitational waves distorted everything, ever so slightly.

our job, as demanded by our privilege, is to help ensure "2017" doesn't make "2016" look like the good old days.

to that end, "now" is always a good time for the real work to begin.
whenever we bring him something, darryl says "thank you," and shakes my hand. i tell him, "you would do the same for me if the situation were reversed," and i believe he would.

eventually our conversation ends and i walk the hundred or so steps back to our front door. 

the distance may as well be a thousand miles.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

and so to sum up...

2016 in a box.
as a matter of pre-2017 housekeeping, some explanation may be warranted for the schedule noted over there. >>>>>>>

1. the western washington fatass 25k is not a race--it's a "fun run." this year, part of the fun included a lot of snow on the trails, and an off-course issaquah. i have no explanation.

2. as noted here, i did everything wrong before and during the cap peak mega fatass. yet just a week later...

3. ...came the best running day ever.

4. gorge waterfalls affected me for...well, pretty much all of 2016. the training was a significant endeavor; the event itself was the most difficult ground i've ever covered (literally and figuratively). and the recovery took longer than i ever imagined. what a ride.

5. soaring eagle was the first attempt to get myself back in the game.

6. the teanaway marathon was a hilariously hot step toward feeling sort of normal (as well as prepping for the white river 50-miler).

7. the taylor mountain 50k was muddy. very muddy.

8. ugh.

9. i jumped into the inaugural running of the paradise valley half marathon just to pin on a bib and remind myself what it felt like to enjoy running. it worked.

10. the run the bluff 10k is held in our neighborhood, which means it's kind of mandatory. it's also great fun to try running fast on legs trained to run long. pleasant surprise: within certain parameters, i can do both!

11. grand ridge half marathon: see #9.

photo by glenn tachiyama.
12. i ran the deception pass 50k last year, after which i made a mental note: "next year, do the 25k." because 50k that particular day was a slog. 

the 25k this year was definitely not a slog. in fact, it was fantastic.
there are things i would've done differently this year, preparation-wise. i ran more miles than ever, but my mental game was, uh, not as rigorous. i was fortunate to learn much about this subject from friends. it can be summed up in three words: keep moving forward.

will do.
as a matter of 2016 record-keeping...

deception pass 25k
31/216 (overall)
3/19 (m 50-59)
shoes: altra lone peak 3.0

song stuck in my head the entire time:  "my traveling star" ~ james taylor

Monday, December 12, 2016

miwok 100k

saturday, dec. 10:

i'm in the miwok lottery.

it's a western states qualifier, and friends report it's a fun, gorgeous course.

the actual lottery is tomorrow, and results are posted monday morning...hope!
monday, dec. 12: 


i'm now oh-for-three on my lottery events for 2017.

damn you, 2016.
moving on to plan C.

pine to palm 100m
javelina 100m

i mean, i could wait for 2018. but in the current political climate, would anyone care to bet on 2018 happening at all?

Friday, December 09, 2016

event horizons

current calendar status.
last saturday was the lottery for the western states 100!

i didn't get in.

today was final permit day for the gorge waterfalls 100k!

i have to drop out.*

time to reconsider...everything.
what we know:

i'm registered for the orcas island 25k on january 28, and the squamish 50-miler on august 19.

in between and wrapped around those two events is a whole lot of...nothing. 

meanwhile, registration has opened for several races on my "plan b" list. 

what's sold out? what's still available?? i don't know!

time to hammer together a schedule.

what we're currently considering:

fort ebey marathon — 2/25 (beautiful whidbey island course.)

chuckanut 50k — 3/18 (ack. sold out! i might still get in, tho.)
miwok 100k — 5/6 (lottery. western states qualifier.)
orcas island marathon — 5/13 (orcas island is one of my favorite places to run.)

smith rock ascent — 5/13 (new to me...i've heard great things.)

sun mountain 50k — 5/20 (my first 50k in 2014. one of my favorite ultras.)
western states training camp — 5/27-29 (the next-best thing to running western states?)

teanaway marathon — 6/3 (ran it this year. great venue.)

beacon rock 50k — 6/10 (like gorge, but on the WA side of the river.)

mccall trailrunning classic 40 mile — 7/15 (a good warm-up for squamish.)

and in their own category:

pine to palm 100m — 9/9 (western states qualifier. i've never run 100 miles.)

mountain lakes 100m — 9/23 (not a western states qualifier. i've never run 100 miles.)

javelina 100m — 10/28 (western states qualifier. i've never run 100 miles.)

nota bene:

yes, i'm aware some of these events are practically simultaneous. please refer to einstein's theory of general relativity to see how i will run all of them.

notes for feet:
* the family and i will be on a plane to hawaii that day.
† running calendar-related. i'm really not smart enough, nor do i have enough time, to contemplate everything.

i've never run 100 miles.