Monthly Archives: November 2015

Walking, pace, effort…

Blathering about walking, pace, effort, and the Mongolfier Brothers
When to walk…, I suppose the first, or primary, decision factor would be the course. There are courses where you hit the first walking point within a quarter-mile of the start because of hills. There are courses where your first walking point will be determined by the watch (or distance) as decided by you in some secret prerace strategy meeting with your inner self–flattish courses or track runs.

I knew one fellow who walked the first 30 minutes of an 8-hour track run and still covered 50 miles by finishing time.

Running versus racing might determine tactics as you go. What are the day’s intentions?
a_balloon_2So, what to do…  I practice walking uphill stretches, working on form. I sometimes will  go out with “run no ups today” in mind.

It is nice to have some places (flat, rolly, hilly–we have all three) with known distances where I could see how fast (or slow 😐 ) I was walking–we were always using 15 minute pace as a guide. Trying to get below it on flat stretches and hoping to not fall too far below the dreaded 18 on the ups (18 times 100 is 1800, 1800 divided by 60 is 30 … that is 30 hours and a cause for a certain amount of anxiety in some runs.)

I’m not giving you much of an answer, but there isn’t a well defined one. The body will feel better some days. The mind will be more cooperative some days. The course may determine it. The course may allow you to determine it.One last little up and
Walk early so you can run later. Don’t overdo the walking.

You need to practice (train) for walking just as much as you do for the rest of the stuff.

I don’t know anything about heart rate methods. I have never used one. If I am running and notice some people are walking as fast as I am running… time to switch to walking. It isn’t a pace thing. It is an effort awareness need. You need to run enough to know what effort you can hold for how long–that could trigger the run>walk switch.

You might also use the walk segment to get a nibble or drink down.Where Arlo Guthrie waited?Where Arlo Guthrie waited?

Find a course with a little variety in it. Practice running, practice the run/shuffle/walk [run the downs, shuffle the flats, walk the ups]–see what the time differential turns out to be. You slowly become comfortable with what you are doing to get yourself able to cover longer distances.

Practice the transition–
run>walk — don’t suddenly slam on the brakes. Take a few steps to change. The sudden decrease in effort is enough to cause warm muscles to cramp.
walk>run — don’t resume running too aggressively or you might suddenly grab a calf you just strained.

Sorry for the rambling, incoherency, and whatever errors you might find. I deleted a page or two from something much longer.

———-Run gently out there———-

Thanksgiving 2015

I have slept in the cold by the railroad tracks;
–I am thankful to have a warm house.
I have wondered where the next meal would come from;
–I am thankful for food in the kitchen.
I have buried friends and relatives;
–I am thankful to be amongst the living.
We have enough to share;
–I am thankful for the gift of sharing.
I have a loving and loved wife;
–I am ever thankful for her patience.
I am still upright, able to be in the forests I love.
–I am thankful.
I think of the many in darkness;
–hoping you each find a light.
I hope the many doors to loneliness are opening;
–that you may find companions for your journey.
I pray the hatred goes away
–and smiles replace the scowls of anger and fear.
I hope more learn what a gift we are to each other;
–and those gifts are shared.

Peace and prayers for Thanksgiving to all — all.

chuckanut 008

———- Run gently out there ———-

Still not used to it

Something to add ramblings to…
The giddiness of crossing a finish line has varied in degrees, but has never gone away. It might be because the ultramarathon does not lend itself to visualization. How many times do we hear (or utter), “I don’t even like to drive that far.” This is often accompanied by noting, on the way home, when you have driven the distance just run. jul_17_18 017My first ultra was a ten-lapper 50 km run at Green Lake in Seattle, Washington. There was no Internet, no Facebook, no nothing back then–the training had been done in solitude with no one to consult. There were days of training runs several hours long; my feet taking me here and there in the forest west of Olympia. A phrase that still wanders in and out of my mind was born on those trails, “No footsteps but mine”. There was little to write about except some idea of how long I had ran here and there.  A day’s run would end with a sandwich, a drink, and a look at the surroundings, “Did I really just run up there, across to there, down there, and…” The paradox of knowing I had, while always doubting I could, would grow into the unending appreciation for covering ground, sometimes quite a bit of it, on my feet. Even those days when I outran the water I carried or the days when the leeward side of the mountain was needed because I had neglected to look at the weather, again, were ended with a certain joy—joy for being done; joy for knowing I would return.late_summer_2011 072
Adjustments were made. I learned to eat for the running I was doing. A Three Musketeers candy bar was in a small bag attached to the web belt.  A conversation with someone whose name I never knew led me to having a second bag in that bag;  second bag  being full of chunks of baked and salted chunks of potatoes. A gallon jug of water was hidden at some allegedly strategic point as I drove to the day’s starting point. I paid attention to the westerly sky.  A small, but useful knowledge of the sky and its clouds, both good and bad, was slowly learned.  Gloves were carried most of the year.  Fog and wind were felt and tasted–salt on the wind told me it was an ocean breeze and rain would soon be on my shoulders. A pause at a junction; was the wind strong enough I needed to turn down into the protection of the valley?  Silence greeted most of my questions.  It would be a line of one of Gordon LIghtfoot’s songs, The Canadian Railroad Trilogy, that would come to mind on days when the wind was still; the rain somewhere unbidden; “When the green dark forest was too silent to be real.” IMG_2325
The absolute thrill, inner of shared aloud, of pointing at distant hills or valleys and saying, “We crossed that.” We had been at starting lines together.  We had left them with varying intentions.jul_17_18 143
Simple pleasures outweighed iowa_mn_end02aug 172
Where would you run if you had just one left?a_watching

———-Run gently out there———-

Veterans Day

U.S. Cemetery, Normandy, France, 18 October 2004

We had been walking around, looking here and there, and feeling the deeply emotional undercurrent. Kathy pointed at the beautiful white sandy beaches, saying, “It’s hard to imagine a battleground here.” I looked at the beaches, at a few rusting steel remnants of a beachhead from long ago; sand and water swirling around them–soon to be gone. I said something like, “Nature and sixty years can hide a lot,” and we paused to sit on a bench in the warm afternoon.

I started watching one old guy. I don’t know what drew my eyes to him, but I turned to watch him closely. He had a piece of paper in his hands. He looked at a cross; moved on. He bent to look at a cross; looked at his paper and moved over one row. I could see his head look to the left, then behind him at the rows. I still swear I could see his head nod as he counted, then he took a step to the right and looked. He bent briefly, touching the cross as if to steady himself–then he knelt. I nudged Kathy, “He found him.” “Him?”

He had found someone who had stayed behind so he could go home.

Thank you to all veterans. All. Everywhere. Always.

———- Run gently out there ———-

Veterans Day – 1

IMG_0340Brown Shoes and Black Shoes

There are these two old men that I see wandering here and there, never quite entering my running environment for some reason.  I have seen them when I am pedaling to the store, driving to the post office, or from a bus, but had never encountered them while on foot.  When I first saw them their number was three.  Time, being what it is, their age being what it appeared to be, a reduction in numbers was not unexpected, but I watched more closely during their next few appearances–yes, three had become two.

Of the two that are left and having no names to put with them, I know one always has on black shoes, brown corduroy pants, green flannel shirt, khaki jacket, and a herringbone hat with a blue ribbon that almost matches blue eyes that are undimmed by the passing years.  The other wears brown shoes, khaki pants and shirt, creased from the years of wear and many years of ironing.

On one bike trip to the store I was close enough to see the word “Normandy” on brown shoe’s baseball cap.  I was flying on the downhill, too fast to stop even though I was becoming aware of an emerging need.  That image on his cap, two smiles, and a chuckle as I zoomed on by were all that managed to be recorded in the abstractions of my mental scratch board that morning.

Yesterday as I turned to run up the last quarter mile of trail I could see Kathy talking to, hmm, two old men.  As I got close I could hear words, then a laugh, then black shoes pointed at me and said, “Better give the lad some room” and motioned for them to move over.  Kathy laughed and I stopped.  She explained they (brown shoes and black shoes) were picking mushrooms for soup, and they were showing her which ones not to pick.  Minutes passed, old fingers, bent from age, pointed at white mushrooms, red mushrooms, tan and black were disapproved. It is a good “crop” this year, black shoes said, brown shoes agreed, and sliced off a piece of a tan cap for Kathy.

A part of my mind was playing with faces and numbers–1944 minus 16 (some 18-year-olds had lied about those last two years just to be in uniform) would be 1928, which would make them 82-years, or so, old.  Okay, seemed to fit.

Mutterings about mushrooms continued back and forth.  My curiosity killing me I finally asked brown shoes about the cap.  “Were you at Normandy?”  “Yes.”  “What outfit?”  A pause, they looked at each other, then, “The 82nd.”  “Oh.”  There was an aura of quiet, me and my stupid curiosity and question asking.  “Rats.”  Then Kathy said, “St. Mere Eglise?”  Brown shoes looked at her, then looked at black shoes, both smiled, then he asked Kathy “Have you been there?”  “Yes, in 2004.”  Brown shoes thought out loud, “2004, sixty years gone by, quieter now, I suppose?”  “Yes.”

Four generations have come and gone since brown shoes and black shoes were born, just long enough to pass on the knowledge of which mushrooms to pick for dinner, and other things along the way.

———- Run gently out there ———-

Veterans Day – 2

Old Men and an Old Man on the Trails

jem_31_mar_2009_ft_ebey 132 (Medium)

Fall in the Pacific Northwest and the running gets quieter as the rains soften the leaf covered trails.  I parked the car and started running down the Kettles Trail.  I was headed for the old men up on Cedar Grove Trail–cedars and firs that have been shedding needles for two or three hundred years.  One old man, limbs bent from fighting the wind while seeking the sun for these many many years, always brings me to a stop.

Six feet thick he stands, most limbs bare, bark deeply grooved and fire scarred on one side.  Many times I have asked him what happened those summers and winters gone by.  Just as many times no answer was offered.  Three ravens were perched on his lower limbs one day.  They told me tales of winters gone by, of summers long ago.

Today at the fork leading to the old men was another old man.  He had a walking staff and stood to one side to allow me to pass.  I pointed left, saying he was okay.  He asked where my fork led.  I slowed.  You never know which interruption is to be an “important” one–which one is to becomes a memory–but the woods are not to be hurriedly passed through.  I paused.

I told of the loop I was heading up, to the old trees, the “old men” as I called them.  He said he was walking the trails trying to remember them from before the war.  They weren’t trails then.  They were logging roads.  Oh.  That war.  My father’s war.  He spoke of living and working out here, days at a time, never thinking of returning to town.  The sounds of the axes would stop in the evening and the bluffs would call.  He told of watching whales and ships and sunsets from the bluffs.

He asked of my running.  I said it’s not really running.  I pause to talk to trees and ravens and listen to the early songs of fall’s migrating birds.  I run the bluffs answering the same calls you did those many years ago.  Perhaps some of my whales were his whales before he left for less peaceful lands.

We talked of Vermont and of Georgia, of France and Germany, of the Pyrenees and the Rockies, of scattered families and friends, some gone, some remembered, some somewhere ever unknown to us.

He looked at his watch, smiled, “I must go and find my car,” he said.

I gave directions, offered my hand in thanks and farewell.  The twists in the trail separated us quickly as I headed for the old men to tell them of an old man.

Perhaps they would remember his passing.

Run gently out there.

November 2005

Balanced Time

Sunrise was at 7:00 a.m. (PST) this morning. It says so on the tide table I print and tape to the refrigerator door at two-week intervals. Since the only thing I do in the morning is look out the window to see if I should grab the camera and run down to fail to capture the magic of an outgoing time, again. I barely noticed that seven o’clock part on first glance. I poured a cup of coffee and went out to sit on the porch steps.The sunrise that went on and on and on...The quiet of morning. The warmth of coffee. An incoming tide halfway done with its work; seals barking and slapping the water–the grey of dawn hides the mountains across the strait. A hint of fall’s chill is in the coldness of the porch steps. It seeps through my pajamas, old bones creak, but not enough to make me take the coffee back inside. An eagle’s chittering can be heard; not a noise to wake others, just talking to a neighbor, unseen. Seven o’clock?
sunrise 002
When running down a trail and some fragment of a memory, some sliver of almost knowledge comes calling, the best I can do is repeat if a few times and hope to recall it when I get home. It seldom works, hundreds of pages of tales and tellings and scribbles and notes have been left on a scratch pad that I never find outside the forested trails. But, I am on the porch and seven o’clock must mean something, I can go inside.
The second cup of coffee is held in front of the tide chart that is on the refrigerator. Will its vapors expose the secret of high tides and low tides and sunrises and sunsets and … sunset? The tide chart is printed two weeks at a time. In a vague sort of way it is useful for running. Running the beach at high tide, if it is a high high-tide, might be ill-advised, but that is of little interest at the moment. My eyes finally catch up with the wisp of memory first stirred on the porch. The important information of the chart is the column headed “sunrise/sunset”.Mt. Stuart's sunset shadow -- by Scott Morelock Mt. Stuart’s sunset shadow — by Scott Morelock

Sunrise crosses 7:00 a.m. this morning, sunset is at 4:47 p.m. As the sun continues its (perceived) journey southward, sunset is a minute or two earlier each evening. Instructions or reminders to do this or that are adjusted in accordance with the time of the setting sun. A seemingly few days ago it was to take a flashlight if you will be out past six o’clock.  Now I see the 7:00 a.m. and 4:47 p.m. and the card that fills the straight is dealt.
We are approaching the day, in my corner of the world, when the sun cracks the eastern horizon the same number of hours and minutes before midday as will pass before the sun goes out of sight to the west of me, behind the Olympic Mountains. This year it is December 1st, sunrise 7:40 a.m., sunset 4:20 p.m., both Pacific Standard Time.ebey_night_02 I took the cup of coffee and with a certain amount of smugness, went back to the steps on the front porch.

———-Run gently out there———-