Sunday, October 18, 2015

O' Dark Thirty

Getting ready to run across the Grand Canyon next week, and this poem landed in my lap. We actually will start at 3AM, but seriously, who is mentally awake at 3? I look forward to seeing a nearly full moon, which will likely fade behind a canyon wall by 4. But, by 4 my mind will be awake, and ready to see ... all there is to see.

Another Grand adventure.

Four In The Morning....

The hour from night to day.
… The hour from side to side.
The hour for those past thirty.

The hour swept clean to the crowing of cocks.
The hour when earth betrays us.
The hour when wind blows from extinguished stars.
The hour of and-what-if-nothing-remains-after-us.

The hollow hour.
Blank, empty.
The very pit of all other hours.

No one feels good at four in the morning.
If ants feel good at four in the morning
—three cheers for the ants. And let five o’clock come
if we’re to go on living.

- Wislawa Szymborska

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Light Years

Over a year since the last post.

Time Flies.

Where to start? The last post had me moving back to my house on Sussex, which I did. I don't have and didn't keep an apt in Lake Forest.

There. That's a logistical update for you.

Other than: Wow, a year ago, I was just thinking about moving back to the house, and now we (Robyn) have completely transformed the house space. Outside, inside.

House word bank: Siding roofing windows furnace water heater fireplace living room den kitchen appliances floors.

Looking back on it, everything in life has shift, transformed. I ran my first hundo in November, we completely changed the house, work life has shifted dramatically, and Robyn and I got engaged. Life looks so different this year. Things shift, transform around us, continually..

When you look at the stars, you are looking into the past. Always. Light years backwards. You can always see where you've been, but you have only a vague idea where you are going. Try to steer as best you can, but don't grip the wheel too tight.

Trying to capture a years worth of change seems impossible. Like trying to capture the light from all the stars in sky.

What do I value this year? What is important? How is it different than last year?  Maybe that's a good place to start. (Or end).

Monday, April 8, 2013

Awake is the New Sleep

So I am sitting here, as I have been for the last hour and half. Awake.

So mostly Random thoughts at 4 AM.

I love to pace runners in hundos. That's races at or over 100 miles. I've done it 5 times now. Why? People ask. All the time. Why would you constant;y just self-sacrifice, and not do one of your own? Well, good question. Several reasons pop to mind, in no particular order. One, I have gained a lot of experience in how to run all night, without the added pressure of trying to "compete", or even "complete". Running all night is hard, taxing mentally. You get good experience pacing other people. Two, I love to run at night. And to be able to do it for free, with Aid stations and all the food? Bonus. Third, to see someone else succeed because of your efforts, is satisfying. This was really my first initial reason. You can't go into these sorts of things with a "What's in for me?" attitude. You will quickly tire of someone else's pace, or personality quirks.
Lot's of life changes going on right now. I am moving from Lake Geneva back to my old house in Janesville. Still, I am going to have to have a place near my work in Lake Forest IL, so house and apt. The logistical challenges in the next few months are going to be interesting. Patience. Life changes quickly sometimes, and you gotta roll with it.
Headed to South Carolina this coming Friday. Much needed break from work life. Looking forward to running in some new areas. Swap land! Couple national Forests too.
I've run back to back on weekends before, but never this kind of mileage. Saturday ran 31, and Sunday ran 15. Mostly felt pretty good. Legs are a little tired, but the trails are kind to the joints. Muscles sore, as they should be. I am eating well. Staying pretty clean, dietary wise. My recovery food on Saturday was chicken, some green juice, a little almond milk. Staying clear of the simple carbs, but some of the better carbs I still indulge in, post-run. The green juice in particular. Interesting though, during both runs, I took only two gels. Total. I totally get the fat burn. Held my pace pretty solid and steady, and never bonked once. I get it. Totally get it. It really works.
Well, 5:40, I've been up for an hour and a half. Might as well make tea and get ready for the day.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


It's rare when a book or a web site inspires me to make lasting, significant changes in my life. In fact, I can't think of any examples. Oh sure, I have my favorite authors, musicians and sites. But to think of a significant course change. I can't. IDEAS. I can get ideas from these places, but to put them into practice, it takes more.

Popular media? Not at all. I ditched the TV, I don't read magazines. Even reading on line, I think we all tend to find those sites that merely reflect our already made up minds.

Community, people, teachers, mentors, training, practice. These things influence me, every day. Set a direction, offer advice. Change my course.

I am a reader, but even more so, I am a doer. Everyone learns differently, but I think I learn best by listening, and watching, then doing, and reflecting, or paraphrasing. But I need someone to show me, teach me, talk to me, advise me (Instruction manuals usually consulted only after failure).

Teacher: show me how to pick up my sword, get behind my plow, work my shovel. I think better when I am moving. Wax on, Wax off (Except math. Can't do math in my head while I am running. I've tried.).

So Question of the day: Who or what influences you?

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Fairy Tale

RE-POST. From June 10, 2011.

We all start out as warriors. A child is the truest example of a warrior in fact. Simple, true to herself, she knows her strengths, gifts, and is happy with them. She plays with them, she polishes them, she embraces them. She cannot imagine life in any other way. But the warrior child at some point is blinded by dragon scales, and can no longer see what is hers. She is restless, becoming an adult. She hears the voices telling her she is not good enough. That she is missing something. she She will start a journey to seek other riches. She seeks. And seeks.

Then, along the journey, she packs up and start carrying her gifts in a sack slung over a shoulder. It's a burden, she says. It's heavy. Most of the time, she never even stops to look at the treasures in the bag and how they can help the journey. She curses them.

She is now the fool.We all become the fool at some point, on a journey to trying to be a warrior again. Trying to return to that happy, simple place where life seemed like an adventure, and everything looked fresh and alive.

Along the way, she will meet other fools, teachers, warriors, tempters, and dragons. The other fools aren't interested in what's in her bag, they are too busy complaining about the burdens in their own. Teacher will try and show her that whats carried with you is valuable, and that it should be held in high regard. But the fool doesn't listen. Warrior will show her that he can use the contents of his bag very well. Then fool is just envious, still cursing her own bag and covetous of the warrior's gift's. Tempter will try and sell her some bauble to add to the already full bag, claiming she will be happy when you've added such and so. But it's fools gold, for she can add nothing to the bag she has without making it even more burdensome

The fool will also meet the dragon. Now the dragon is very dangerous, for he will want what is in her bag, by telling her that it's only a burden, worthless. He covets it; He understands the value of it. But if she let's him relieve the burden he will sit on it. The dragon knows the value of what he sits on, down to the last coin. The dragon speaks in riddles. Sometimes the truth, sometimes a lie, sometimes half of each. He will tell stories, spinning, spinning always spinning a web of words to cloud from her what is so valuable in her bag, whats is precious. But the dragon can never really take it, only hide it.

The dragon has the most to teach her, and yet she has the most to lose by talking to him, facing him. But only by facing him can she ever hope to come full circle, and realize her gifts and what she is.

Somewhere, sometime, some fools have the dragon scales fall from their eyes. The fool realizes that she is the warrior, the teacher, the tempter, the dragon, and yes, she is still and always will be a fool. She has come full circle not to once again be the simple warrior, but all of the above.

In addition to her wonderful bag of gifts, she has gained wisdom.

Question: Whats in your bag?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Adventure

The Heroic life is living your own adventure*. There is no security in this. It's falling off the cliff, or maybe it's jumping. It's moving with purpose, with intention, into dangerous situations. It's the dragon's breath.

Nothing is exciting when you know the outcome.

When we turn away from the unknown, we turn from the possibilities. instead, when we turn toward what's comfortable, we think in that safety we can escape anything, even death. We chase things to keep that comfort. material things, build a castle. We want things to remain the same. We acquire. More and more.

But they won't help. Things will change, leaving us clinging to the bits of glue and leather we used to hold our life together. Wondering what happened.

The only solution, is to face the change, the dragon, and embrace it. for it will come, whether we like it or not.

Don't turn way from the hard things, the painful things. for in them we find the joy in life. Sometimes it's not fun, but it's always an adventure.

OK, sometimes it sucks. But at least you know you are alive. That to me is the hero's journey.

(*paraphrased from The Art of Living, by Joesph Campbell)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

You don’t need to leave your room.
Remain sitting at your table and listen.
Don’t even listen, simply wait.
Don’t even wait.
Be quite still and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you.
To be unmasked, it has no choice.
It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
Frank Kafka